LONDON (Reuters) - Armed with what Goran Ivanisevic calls a “Balkan mentality” and “positive arrogance”, Novak Djokovic replaced the heartbreak of losing the French Open with the joy of hoisting the Wimbledon trophy in the space of just five weeks.
That “positive arrogance” has made Djokovic a formidable athlete who, rather than being distracted by the joys of married life and fatherhood, has become a human winning machine who keeps showing up come finals day.
In fact since the birth of his son Stefan last October, the world number one has lost only three of 61 matches and collected eight titles, including the Australian Open and Wimbledon.
“Ever since I got married and became a father, I haven’t lost many matches, I won many tournaments. I suggest that to every player, Get married, have kids, let’s enjoy this,” a beaming Djokovic said as he celebrated his first wedding anniversary by winning his third Wimbledon title.
He lifted the gold trophy after a 7-6(1) 6-7(10) 6-4 6-3 victory over second-seeded Swiss great Roger Federer.
Whereas top players once put off having a family because they thought it would ruin their focus, Djokovic’s settled off-court life means he does not spend too much time dwelling on disappointments and can quickly focus on the task ahead.
It certainly helped him overcome the utter despair he felt after his hopes of completing his collection of grand slam titles were dashed in last month’s French Open final by Stan Wawrinka.
“If there is one thing that I learned it is to recover fast and to leave things behind me and move on,” the 28-year-old Serbian said after he became the oldest man in the professional era to win nine grand slam titles.
“You can’t think about what happened in the French Open or what happened a few weeks before. You just need to look forward.”
That is exactly what Djokovic is doing as he targets the seven men — Federer, Rafa Nadal, Pete Sampras, Roy Emerson, Bjorn Borg, Rod Laver and Bill Tilden — who have won more majors than him.
While Federer and Nadal had claimed 15 and 14 grand slam titles respectively by the time they were 28, Djokovic’s recent success shows he is getting better with age.
“I’m 28. I feel good. I don’t feel old. I have hopefully many more years in front of me,” he said.
“I’m going to try to push my own limits and see how far I can go really with titles and with myself playing on this high level.
“I try to learn from every experience, especially the ones that don’t end up victorious for me. I’m going to keep going.”
Reporting by Pritha Sarkar, editing by Ken Ferris