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Built to Be Flexible, Novak Djokovic Bounces Back

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Because the tour continued in March, he was unable to enter the US, due to his unvaccinated status, to compete within the Masters 1000 events in Indian Wells, Calif., and Miami Gardens, Fla. Back in motion, he struggled within the early events on clay before winning in Rome after which did not hit the high notes required in his quarterfinal loss on the French Open to Rafael Nadal, his longtime rival.

“Definitely, this yr has not been the identical just like the last years,” Djokovic said. “It has began the best way it has began, and it has affected me definitely in the primary several months of the yr. I used to be not feeling great generally. I mean mentally, emotionally, I used to be not at place.

“I desired to play, but at the identical time once I went out on the court in Dubai, which was the primary tournament of the yr, I just felt a lot pressure and emotions happening. I wasn’t feeling myself on the court. I noticed at that time that it’s going to take a while, that I actually have to be patient and that eventually I’ll get myself within the state, the optimal state, where I would really like to be.”

Wimbledon, once more, turned out to be the tonic. It was where he regained his mojo when he broke out of the most important slump of his profession to win in 2018. And though he continues to play precious little grass-court tennis, skipping all of the official lead-in tournaments on the surface, he was once more capable of find his footing and range in a rush to win his twenty first major singles title, one behind Nadal’s record.

Goran Ivanisevic, Djokovic’s coach and a former Gencic student and Wimbledon champion, was with Djokovic in Australia though he was never detained himself.

“This was an enormous thing that happened to him,” Ivanisevic said, explaining that though many expected him to return to the practice court right after the deportation, “it’s not happening like this.”

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