Staying in the moment could be Djokovic’s secret.


New York:

Novak Djokovic says that living in the moment and handling challenging situations are his secret weapons to deal with the emotions and pressures of trying to make a history of tennis.

The world number one beat Danish teen qualifier Holger Ron 6-1, 6-7 (5/7), 6-2, 6-1 in the second round of the US Open on Tuesday.

Djokovic is trying to win the US Open to complete the first men’s singles calendar year Grand Slam since Rod Lever in 1969 and reach the men’s career record of 21 major titles.

“There are a lot of expectations and pressures from the entire tennis community, including you,” Djokovic said. “Obviously I’d like to win the title myself and make history. It’s definitely something that impresses me.”

Handling stress means not going ahead of yourself during a two-week battle to reach the final, because only there can history be made.

“Every day I’m focused on trying to be the best version of myself,” Djokovic said. “Being present at this time and trying to work mentally and emotionally and handle it that way will benefit you.

“I have my own routines. I just try to do things, surround myself with people, take a trip and travel in this tournament that I think is appropriate, which I know I have done in the past.”

Djokovic has 20 experienced slam titles, three of them on New York’s hard courts, and many of the habits of coming back in tough conditions.

“There are things you can always rely on, go back when you’re having a little bit of an emotional upheaval,” he said. “When it gets too much, I’ve developed a method where I can handle it mentally.

“I have had a formula for many years that has worked well for me, it has brought me to where I am. At the same time, it doesn’t have to work all the time.

“You have to be flexible, open-minded, and trust your environment and the people who support you, and just focus on those few weeks.”

For Djokovic, it’s about the process – exercising, recovering and even working on his mental game.

“There is no secret medicine or one thing I can say that the biggest secret to my success is to live in the moment,” Djokovic said.

“It’s a combination of different factors and elements of my life, my outlook on everyday life, my training, my recovery, my mental work. An environment.

“I know everything matters. At the end of the day, it affects everything and affects performance in some way.”

This is when the unexpected happens that Djokovic seeks balance.

“You really go through the roller coaster of emotions on the court,” Djokovic said. “Every time I lose that concentration and focus, I try to bounce back and then I get my attention back.

“I think conscious breathing helps a lot. It’s a very easy way to stay present.”

New York fans want to see history but like trouble, Djokovic knows he can see both sides of the crowd’s support.

“You always want the crowd behind you, but it’s not always possible,” he said. “I am focusing on myself and what I need to do.

“I just have to see how it feels in court and try to keep it together. That’s all I can do.”

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