Wimbledon: Djokovic revels in reflected glory as mirror pep talk saves the day against Sinner

By Sports Desk July 05, 2022

Novak Djokovic revealed "a little pep talk in the mirror" gave him the motivation to rescue his Wimbledon mission after Jannik Sinner threatened a monumental Centre Court upset.

Seeking a fourth consecutive Wimbledon title, and seventh in all, Djokovic fell two sets behind against 20-year-old Italian Sinner and left the court for a toilet break at the height of his crisis.

Djokovic returned recharged to win 5-7 2-6 6-3 6-2 6-2 for a 26th consecutive Wimbledon match win, reaching the semi-finals for an 11th time and later revealing what had occurred away from the public glare.

"I went out and had a little bit of refreshment, toilet break and a little pep talk in the mirror," said Djokovic.

That sparked laughter from the crowd, but Djokovic said: "It's actually true. Sometimes in these sort of circumstances where nothing is happening positively for you on court, and the other guy is dominating the play, sometimes these things are necessary: a little break and a little pep talk and try to recuperate and regather the thoughts, and reassemble everything that you have, and come at your opponent with the best possible game.

"I was fortunate to start the third set very well. I broke his serve early in the set and I think that has given me a confidence boost, and I saw a little bit of doubt in his game, in his movement, and I guess the experience of playing on this stage for many matches helped me a little bit to deal and cope with the pressure."

It was a third victory from two sets in arrears for Djokovic at Wimbledon, and a seventh overall in his grand slam career.

Djokovic described Sinner as "so mature for his age", adding: "He's got plenty of time, and it was unfortunate for him today, but he's had a very good tournament."

The defending champion said the first two sets and the final three felt like "two different matches", the change having been striking once Djokovic emerged from his talking-to in the mirror.

"I go through the same kind of doubtful moments as anybody else," said 35-year-old Djokovic, who is chasing a 21st grand slam title this fortnight.

"The inner fight is always the biggest fight you have to fight on the court, and so trying to win that internal fight is a big challenge.

"Once you do that, the external circumstances are more likely to go in your favour. I always believed I could turn the match around. I've done that quite a few times in grand slams, from being two sets to love down. Maybe it's the experience, maybe it's the toilet break, maybe it's everything combined, but I'm just glad I'm through.

"Every single time I step on this court the love affair keeps going and keeps growing, so hopefully I can maintain that run."

Related items

  • Legendary tennis coach Bollettieri dies aged 91 Legendary tennis coach Bollettieri dies aged 91

    Legendary tennis coach Nick Bollettieri has died at the age of 91.

    The American, who coached the likes of Andre Agassi, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Boris Becker, passed away on Sunday.

    He founded the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy, now the IMG Academy, and long since gained a reputation of being one of the most iconic coaches in the sport.

    Tommy Haas, who was also coached by Bollettieri, paid an emotional tribute to him on Monday.

    The German posted on Instagram: "So many memories, I am not sure where to begin. Nickiiiii, that's how I have called you for the longest time.

    "Thank you for your time, knowledge, commitment, expertise, the willingness to share your skill, your personal interest in mentoring me and giving me the best opportunity to follow my dreams.

    "You were a dreamer and a doer, and a pioneer in our sport, truly one of a kind.

    "I surely will miss you around the academy, our tennis talks, miss showing of [sic] your tan, white teeth and body fat, miss watching you do Tai Chi, miss playing golf with you watching you try to cheat, eating a Snickers bar and running for the bushes, and hearing all about your plans even at the age of 91.

    "Thanks again for everything……..

    "RIP Nickiiiii."

    Monica Seles and Jim Courier were among the other players who were coached by Bollettieri.

  • Raducanu 'extremely grateful' after being awarded MBE Raducanu 'extremely grateful' after being awarded MBE

    Emma Raducanu felt "extremely grateful" after being made an MBE for her services to tennis.

    The 20-year-old was presented with the honour by King Charles III in a ceremony at Windsor Castle on Tuesday.

    It comes 14 months after Raducanu's fairytale triumph at the US Open, where she became the first British female grand slam champion since Virginia Wade's Wimbledon victory in 1977.

    The then 18-year-old was also the first qualifier to land a major after her straight-sets her win over Leylah Fernandez in the championship match at Flushing Meadows.

    In a statement released via her agent, Raducanu said: "It's been great to receive my honour today from his Majesty the King - I feel extremely grateful."

    Raducanu did not enjoy a fruitful season in 2022, as she failed to win a trophy or progress beyond the second round in any of the grand slams.

    Her deepest run in a tournament came in September, when she reached the semi-finals of the Korea Open, but she had to retire hurt from a semi-final tie with Jelena Ostapenko.

  • Canada land first Davis Cup title as Shapovalov and Auger-Aliassime sink Australian hopes Canada land first Davis Cup title as Shapovalov and Auger-Aliassime sink Australian hopes

    Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov steered Canada to Davis Cup glory in Sunday's final against Australia in Malaga, earning the country their first title in the competition.

    Canada were runners-up three years ago in Madrid, when a 19-year-old Auger-Aliassime and 20-year-old Shapovalov lost their respective singles clashes with Roberto Bautista Agut and Rafael Nadal.

    Three years older and three years wiser, this time the Canadians dominated the trophy match at the expense of 28-time champions Australia.

    Shapovalov got Canada off to a flying start by crushing Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-2 6-4, setting up the chance for Auger-Aliassime to clinch victory without the need for the contest to go down to a doubles decider.

    World number six Auger-Aliassime made no mistake as he fended off Alex de Minaur 6-3 6-4, adding Davis Cup glory to the four singles titles he has gathered this year.

    Auger-Aliassime saved three break points in the sixth game of the second set, from 0-40, when a trailing De Minaur was looking to hit back. He then sealed Canada's victory minutes later with a forehand into the corner that his opponent could only return out of court, before being mobbed by team-mates.

    Each of Auger-Aliassime's 2022 titles came at indoor hard court events, and he has thrived again in those conditions this week, winning all three of his singles rubbers and a doubles tussle on Saturday against Italy alongside the experienced Vasek Pospisil.

    The Canadian pair got the job done just minutes before kick-off time in their country's World Cup game against Croatia.

    "The emotions are hard to describe," said Auger-Aliassime. "All of us here, we've dreamt of this moment.

    "These guys around me, except Vasek, he's a little bit older than me, we grew up together from the ages of seven, eight years old in Canada dreaming about being on this stage, winning these types of matches, winning a Davis Cup.

    "It's really a dream come true, for me personally and I think for all the team. It was a great moment for myself and the country."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.