World number two Novak Djokovic has admitted he had thoughts of retiring from the sport before he went on his brilliant run of form in 2018.
Djokovic, who underwent an elbow surgery earlier this year, struggled to regain the touch that had seen him win 14 Grand Slam titles before 2018 and considered calling it quits at times. This was around the time Djokovic also crashed out of the Australian Open in the fourth round and then losing in the quarter-finals at the French Open.
While Djokovic had won just one title at Roland-Garros in his career, the six-time Australian Open winner would have felt rather let down by his second successive underwhelming performance there – he was a second round casualty in 2016. The pair of performances were his worst down under since 2007, which was the last time he didn’t make the last eight stage of that tournament.
Even at the French Open, there had been six successive semi-final appearances before the back to back quarter-final ousters in 2017 and 2018.
So much so that Djokovic has now admitted his confidence was at its lowest at around that time, and was unsure what he needs to do in order to continue.
Speaking on a TV show Da Mozda Ne, Djokovic said: “This year, in the first months after surgery I passed through emotions and thoughts that were not the brightest.”
“I also said that I would no longer play tennis, people were shocked. At those moments I was not sure what I was talking about. The worst is when there’s a doubt about the belief that I can do it.”
Djokovic also revealed what turned his fortunes around. He said he had a long session with his trainers and strategised to get back his form in the lead-up to the US Open but things began to show a turnaround when he managed to reach the final at the Queen’s competition.
This was followed by the Wimbledon triumph and the rest, as they say was history.
Currently, Djokovic is on an 18-match winning streak that has seen pocket three titles – the Cincinnati Masters, US Open and the Shanghai Masters. Since that Queen’s final where he lost to Marin Cilic, Djokovic has a 27-1 win-loss record and will go into the Paris Masters as a favourite to win it.