Novak Djokovic US Open 2021

Djokovic needs to recover “from emotional rollercoaster” says former world number one

Seven-time Grand Slam Champion Justine Henin thinks Novak Djokovic is starting to suffer from ”the emotional rollercoaster” he has been on in the last few years, believing that his problems began at the 2020 US Open. 

After being forced to miss both the Australian Open and the recent Sunshine Double last month due to his vaccination status, Novak Djokovic made his long-awaited to return to action playing his first match in 47 days at the Monte Carlo Masters this week.

The World number one was participating in just his second event of the year, after competing in the Dubai Tennis Championships back in February. His lack of match practice showed, as he suffered a shock three set loss to World number 46 Alejandro Davidovich Fokina losing 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-1.

Following the defeat, the Serbian expressed concerns surrounding his lack of fitness, admitting that he “collapsed physically” and “ran out of gas” during the match.

However the two-time US Open Champion Justine Henin believes that Djokovic is suffering psychologically as well as physically. Speaking to Eurosport, Henin argues that the Serbian is struggling to cope with all the stressful scenarios that he has encountered since 2020.

“We can’t under-estimate the emotional roller-coaster he [Djokovic] has been on. Not just the Australian Open and not just all the effort he made to try and win his 21st Grand Slam at the 2021 US Open either [and which would’ve seen him hold all four majors].”

“But you can also go back to the US Open in 2020 when he was disqualified. From there, he then had the tough [final] defeat [to Rafa Nadal] at Roland Garros [in the same year]. Then he had the abdominal injury and his somewhat miraculous win at the Australian Open in 2021.”

Henin continued saying that despite Djokovic needing to time to recover from all these different events in his career, she believes that soon the Djokovic of old will return.

“I’m not saying all this is going to have an impact on the rest of his career, but he’s got to digest and recover from all of that and these are factors that have got to be taken into account when we talk about him now.”

“But I think he’s going to recover and we’ll once again sooner or later see the Djokovic of old, so I’m not too worried at this stage. But these players aren’t machines either, and even if he showed us that he could deal with so many things and that the more he was in difficulty, the more he could bounce back, how long can he keep doing that?”

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