I love Novak Djokovic. Don't get me wrong. LOVE him. Love his personality, his style, his tennis game. From the moment he began to gain prominence on the tennis circuit, I've been on his team. He's likable as hell. Well...at least, he used to be.
Flash forward to the 2008 season, and I can't help but to notice that that effervescent, engaging, entertaining, completely appreciative personality of his has changed a bit.
Some might speculate that it's due to injuries and physical ailments that plague him on the long, grueling tennis tour that these guys do year in and year out. Maybe that's so. All I know is that the Novak Djokovic that I personally have gotten to know and love was not the one that showed up at the US Open this year.
Novak has been gaining a reputation of crying wolf when it comes to ailments during tennis matches. Whether it's legit, or not, only Nole knows....
Andy Roddick made light of all these illness claims at a press conference, and in a quite entertaining way. Hell, even I had to chuckle, although it's really not good sportsmanship to joke about someone's injuries. Wasn't the best moment for Andy Roddick, really. Funny? Yeah, it kinda was. Should he have said what he said? No. But ya know what? It worked. Those words had Djokovic steaming during that entire match they played.
Novak allowed Roddick's snarky little comments to get to him. He got angry about it. Put a huge chip on his shoulder about it. And that, in my humble opinion, is why he didn't beat Federer in the semis the following match. He let these emotions get to him and it messed with his head completely. He then wanted to win for spite, it seemed, instead of for the joy of just being the best, like he used to. It made him lose concentration and focus. You are never at your best when you're angry.
As we all know, trash talking is part and parcel of any and every sport. A true champion knows how to roll with the punches and allow the BS to roll off his/her shoulders. As far as I can see, Djokovic has yet to develop this skill. If he ever really intends to become the #1 tennis player in the world, he had better develop a slightly thicker skin, and quickly.
In everyone's life, a little negativity will fall. It's how you let it affect you (or not) that counts more. You can either let it defeat you, like it did Djokovic, or you can use it to your advantage. Let it spur you on to be even more successful.
Better. Fiercer. Stronger.
And that, is the absolute BEST way to win.
by The Fitness Diva