Novak Djokovic was on the verge of retirement in 2018, his wife Jelena revealed in a recent interview. The World No.1’s injury struggles and loss of form led to him strongly considering putting his career to a halt following a disastrous Indian Wells and Miami that saw him suffer shock losses to Philipp Kohlschreiber and Roberto Bautista Agut respectively.
“He said to me that he’s quitting and that’s the truth”, Jelena said. “He lost in Miami. It was a terrible loss. And then he just, you know, gathered all of us and said, ‘You know guys, I’m done.’ And I was like, ‘What?’ And he goes like, ‘Yeah.”
“He said, ‘Edoardo (Artaldi, manager of Djokovic), you can speak with my sponsors. I want to be clear with them. I don’t know if I’m stopping for six months, a year or forever.’”
It gives a revealing insight into the mindset that even the elite performers in any sport and how their confidence can be knocked when times are bad. Things would soon improve as he headed into the summer of 2018 though, with a Wimbledon title being his first of five slams won in the seven between then and the current tour hiatus.
The Serbian has been a constant on social media during the current lockdown although he has ruffled a few feathers with his anti-vaccination stance, something that could become more of a prominent story as the tour nears to a return.