World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has recalled the only time,in his career when be was struggling to motivate himself. Djokovic, who claimed his first French Open title in 2016, was struggling afterward to find motivation after finally achieving the career Grand Slam.
Djokovic was beaten by Rafael Nadal in the 2014 French Open final and he lost to Stan Wawrinka in the 2015 French Open final, before beating Andy Murray in the 2016 French Open final. "Well, I think what came easily in that process for me was to motivate myself.
I had plenty of motivation trying to win Roland Garros, kind of reach that milestone of winning all four slams. I came up short two, three times, losing in finals, in some long, big, tough matches against Nadal particularly, and against Wawrinka in 2015 I think," Djokovic recalled.
"I think I played three finals of Roland Garros in a row. I lost '14 to Nadal, '15 to Wawrinka, in '16 I beat Andy. When I won in '16, I held all four slams, I had many finals in a row. I had definitely the best 15 months of my career.
Those were so to say the pinnacle moments in my career in terms of results, in how I felt on the court, how well I played."
Djokovic felt relief after achieving his goal
"But little did I know after that I just struggled a little bit with motivation, to be honest.
I thought I would never find myself in that kind of state, but I was. I learned something new obviously. That took a lot out of me. I think I was very devoted and very intense with my desire to win a slam on clay. Growing up on clay, obviously I never felt uncomfortable playing on clay.
Statistically looking, clay is not my most successful surface comparing to hard court or grass for that matter in terms of Grand Slams," Djokovic continued. "I think it was a bit mental, bit of luck I think as well.
It was probably more mental than physical at that stage, coming up short for four or five years, being in finals, semifinals. Just needing that extra step to clinch the title gave me every single season more drive and I think more hunger to get to where I wanted to be and hold that Roland Garros title.
"At the same time when I finally reached it, I felt a huge joy, content and relief, but at the same time also exhaustion. It took really a lot out of me. I kind of for a year and a half had to recover in terms of emotions. I had an elbow issue and everything. I felt basically in 2018 that I got back on track.