Skiing U-turn made me a champion, says Djokovic

Sun Mar 1, 2015 2:05pm EST
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By Zoran Milosavljevic

BELGRADE (Reuters) - The dedication to sporting excellence which moulded Novak Djokovic into the world’s top tennis player was preceded by a passion for skiing which remains one of his greatest joys, the 27-year old Serb told Reuters on Sunday.

Cutting a relaxed figure following afternoon practice less than 24 hours after losing the Dubai Open final to Roger Federer, the eight-times grand slam champion explained the tough decision which changed his life.

"I am very blessed to be able to play tennis, the sport that I love and very grateful for the opportunities to play in the finals of big events,” he said.

“When the season starts you are on the roll constantly and obliged to be committed to daily routines on and off the court.

“But before I ever hit a tennis ball I was already on the slopes of the mountains where I grew up and skiing has stayed my biggest sports passion.

“My father was a skiing instructor and competitor as well as my uncle and aunt and I really do come from a family which nurtures a skiing culture.

“Even though I love tennis with all my heart and it’s my number one sport, for me there is still no better feeling than going down the slopes on a pair of skis, it’s such a powerful feeling.

“There was a time in my life when I was around 10 or 11 when I had to decide between the two sports because I was strongly considering skiing.   Continued...

Novak Djokovic of Serbia returns to Roger Federer of Switzerland during their final match at the ATP Championships tennis tournament in Dubai, February 28, 2015. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah