Everything is realistic. Someone gets it (about success)earlier, someone gets it maybe later. There have been players have made it pretty late in their careers. I try every day, and work every day more and more. And I hope one day it’s going to pay off, and I’ll be at the top also.
I would use any chance that I get. I’m enjoying playing tennis and having fun on the court. I missed it a lot and that gives me a lot of joy on the court and a lot of motivation. Trying to use any chance, any match any tournament. It’s going well.
Both things go hand in hand. If I’m able to win on the ATP tour level, then I’ll be a help to our team. Of course, coming back and playing Davis Cup in front of my home crowd will mean the real end of this chapter. Then I’ll be able to say that it’s behind me.
My first title gave me a lot of confidence. Then, the Davis Cup finals came and, for sure, knowing that I had a title already and that I was playing very well, I was more confident than usual. Winning Davis Cup was the biggest moment of my life—it was just a great experience. It’s the moment I’ll remember for the rest of my life.
It happens to every athlete—it happens that he has good days and bad days. We all have ups and downs. I guess it’s normal for every tennis player also. I mean, the thing is to get out of it as quickly as you can, try not to think about it, and try to improve from those things—what you did wrong.
I’ve learned some things from those matches (where he lost). I work hard every day to improve my game, so I hope these things won’t happen again.
We talked about not just tennis, but how to make life a nice place—to enjoy life, to be happy on the court. Sometimes when I was on the court and I was losing, I was really not happy. When it was not going my way, I was pretty unhappy—those were the things that were maybe not helping me. We tried to improve that and to start thinking positive on the court, even if it’s not going well.
From the wish to show that they were wrong to suspend me, to the hope of proving to myself that I can do even better than before— above all, a desire to make up for lost time… All of these emotions and much more will be present. However, I often remember a very good saying, “Once a doctor, always a doctor.” That’s why I haven’t given up on tennis: because it’s who I am.
It was hard for me without tournaments, very hard. But, I have to admit, some moments were nice and interesting, too. I had time for everything. Now, I’m completely recovered mentally, and not so nervous and burdened with all of this like at the beginning.
When [the CAS tribunal] made their decision to uphold my suspension, it was a huge shock. But since then, I thought about it all in peace—about the future, not so much about everything that happened.
My mother and father have been the biggest support my whole life. They always believed in me. There were also a few other people, like Neša Trifunović, who’ve been a lot of help. From them, I got valuable advice. They told me that a year is short period in life and that it’ll pass—that I have to survive mentally, to be even stronger and even better. I appreciate that. My parents are very excited that I’m returning to the court, although I won’t see them as much as in the past year.
I’ll give my best—more than I gave before. My goal is to fight to the last point, and to get into the top 100. It won’t be easy; but if I start well, I think I have a chance. In the end, it’s all up to me.
We wanted it, we were eager to make it, we wanted it maybe more than some others. We worked hard and we believed in ourselves and yeah, it was really tough times growing up in Serbia and going for practices and stuff but luckily we made it and we’re enjoying every moment of it.
I had a person this year, during the tournaments in Europe, who I was talking to. We were doing some sessions—mental sessions, psychological treatments. He helped me a lot, I think. We did a good job and I still use those things.
I could say that I play on all surfaces pretty good. I’m from Europe, so I play more tournaments in Europe. I like clay. I’ve had some good wins on clay. I try to mix it up. I try to stick with one per season. When it’s clay season, I play on clay. When it’s hard season, I play on hard.
I never was thinking about quitting, but after I had some time off and I didn’t play tennis, I started missing it. I started practicing hard, harder than ever before probably. I had some doubts, of course. I didn’t know how it was going to go and if I will come back. In the practice it looked good, playing against the good guys and everything. But in the matches, not having a match for a year, it was kind of — didn’t know how to feel.
Before the tournament I was using any chance that I could to play with anyone. Also in Monte-Carlo where I spend most of the time because I live there. There’s a lot of players there, so I used any chance. For me, since I couldn’t attend any — since I couldn’t be at any site, at any event, it was hard to get good players. But any chance that I could get, I used it. That gave me a good practice. So I used any chances.
I started doing some things that I couldn’t do before while I was playing tournaments all the time. I just wanted to enjoy a bit. I was hanging out with my friends, family, traveling to some places. Novak was nice taking me to some places. Then I just had fun.
I knew what to play against him (Rafa Nadal ) and how I’m supposed to play, and that helped me a lot. And I played really well. I was aggressive, I served well, I hit the ball nice.I t was great feeling on the court playing like this and playing like this against Rafa Nadal who is a great champion. I hope I will continue to do that in the next rounds.
If I sort out the dice in my head, then that’s that—and I don’t need someone else’s help. If I manage to straighten myself out, that’s enough.
I wanted to catch up on things I love and haven’t had much chance to do. I went skiing four times last winter – more days skiing than ever before in my life. Often, I’d play football with the guys – we had an indoor league. And I went on a couple of trips with Nole, including my first time in South America, which was interesting.
I didn’t want to play tennis in the start because it was just a lot of negative thoughts. I just want to relax and enjoy. I never thought of giving up. It even made me more angrier and gave me more motivation to get back even better than I was. To all my team, actually. That’s why I was working even harder and better than ever. That work is paying off now.
When you are forbidden to do something that you love, you start missing it a lot. After some time not doing something that you love, that ever since you are a kid I dreamed about playing tennis and professionally, and my goal was to play big stadium, big tournament, playing against the top guys, being a top guy. You want to get back and be there again and be even better and prove to the world that you can be there again. That’s what was pushing me.
He (Rafa Nadal) had many more fans than me, but I felt I had my own fans and they were by my side and they supported me always. I saw a lot of Serbian flags, too. It’s nice to see that. Also, a lot of Chinese talking some Serbian words, so it’s cool.
I feel like I can play for many more years. Hopefully I will stay healthy and play better and better.
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