As you leave the subway in North Greenwich, you will be on your way to the O2 Arena Novak Djokovic greeted. The staircase of the escalator is covered with Serbian posters that carry crocodile polo shirts. The thirty-year-old is a man in the timetable, and betting operators run as favorites for the title in the ATP finals. That would be his sixth.
His journey to the summit is impressive and made possible by Swiss assistance. It was only when he had his right elbow at the Mutenza Running Club in early February that he thought he was returning to his best level.
In an interview with Daili Telegraph, he now looked back at that time. After the procedure, he cried several times for two to three days. "Whenever I thought about it, it seemed to me that I failed." As in 2016 for Roger Federer (Meniscal Surgery), Djokovic is the first surgical intervention. And he pushed him as long as possible.
"I believe the human body is being treated," he explained. "That's why I would never want to put myself in the position that an operation is needed, but this time it was inevitable. It is a compromise I had to make because I no longer wanted to experience such a year."
One year of pain medication
What does that mean? For a year he swallowed painkillers. Others did all of their career, but that was nothing to him. After the Australian Open 2018, his first tournament after six months, he realized that his attempt to circumvent the operation failed.
The difficulty for him was also long to find out which procedure and which doctor can trust. He consulted with six or seven surgeons before deciding on a running clinic. For more than a month, he felt guilty after surgery, after which he told himself, "It's up to me to decide whether I want to be grateful or bitter."
His athletic bottom was in Indian Wales and Miami, where on his premature return he left twice at the opening of the round – against Taro Daniel and Benoit Paire. He felt completely lost on the ground, he admits now. They all advised against playing back only five weeks after surgery. But he still did it. Although it was a mistake, he was not sorry. Just make some mistakes. Despite everything, he always believed he could return to the top. "But I thought I needed more time."
Far from the "doctors" of Pepa Imaz
The key person on the return was Marian Vajda, with whom she works together from the season of the foot. The 53-year-old Slovac, who was just named Coach of the Year, made one of the conditions when Djokovic asked him if he would return to him: he would separate from the Spanish "doctor" Pepa Imaz. It's not an easy decision, since Novak's younger brother, Marko, is one of the trainers at the Imaz Academy at Marbella. In addition, Vajda could persuade her protégé, who was a vegan vegetarian, at least eat fish again.
Returning to Vajdu ended Đoković's desperate search for something new. He was not satisfied with Andre Agasi, and Radek Stepanek, with whom he was still a good friend, was not the answer. "Marian is more of a trainer for me," says Djokovic. "He is part of my family, not even in twelve months we have worked together, we have been in contact, talking about life, about family, about tennis. Our relationship is indestructible." It was best for him in this difficult time to return to tried and true, "to those who know and understand me best." In July, Austrian fitness trainer Gebhard Gritsh returned to the Serbs.
He found out again, Đoković told Daili Telegraph. And he became philosophically: "Every day is a chance to grow and get to know each other better. I believe that the answer is in us. If we look for it, we will find it."
Created: 12.11.2018, 19:18 hours