Experience the key for Djokovic
Originally published on: 04/06/12 00:00
Novak Djokovic was well below his best in his fourth-round victory over Andreas Seppi at the French Open, but the world No 1 believes that his experience helped to pull him through. Djokovic lost the first two sets before recovering to earn his place in the last eight. He is through to his 12th Grand Slam quarter-final in succession.
“At the start of my career I don't know if I would actually have been able to get out of this position, but now is different because of the years of experience I had and playing on a big stage in big matches,” he said. “That’s something that you gain over the time. You can't really learn it in practice.”
For a player whose stamina was suspect in the early stages of his career, Djokovic has become a master of the five-set marathon. He has won 16 of the 21 five-set matches he has played, including the last seven in succession. The win over Seppi was the third time he has won a match from two sets down.
“It's normal that over time when you're playing at this level you learn how to improve as a player,” Djokovic said. “You're improving every part of your game. That’s why we are still here. Even though I have achieved a lot in my career, I still feel that I can improve a lot. I practise very hard and I’m committed to the sport. In the end hard work and dedication to tennis pays off.”
Djokovic said that patience also came with experience. “I don't think you can really train that,” he said. “You just get it over time and with experience. The more you play big matches and the big tournaments, the more you're going to feel comfortable and get out of situations like this.”