While he admits his confidence has been rocked following a series of poor results, Novak Djokovic says he is determined to rediscover his lost form.
Three years ago, Djokovic won three of the year’s four Grand Slams in his most dominant year on tour to date, confirming his status as the best player in the world.
But since returning from a lengthy lay-off due to an elbow injury, he has struggled to replicate anything close to that kind of form.
And Djokovic admits it has not been easy coming down from those dizzy heights.
“I have always believed in myself and that’s why I was able to make all my childhood dreams come true, but right now my confidence is not at the highest level,” he told reporters.
“That’s not surprising given the lack of results and all I can do is knuckle down to hard work to restore it. A few good matches and one good tournament and it will come back.”
Since returning to action Djokovic has suffered early exits in Barcelona, Monte Carlo, Miami and Indian Wells.
“That was my decision because I missed playing tennis so much but I was not ready and it backfired,” he said.
“After everything I have been through in the past year or so, I have had to lower my expectations but my motivation and my ambitions remain unchanged.
“After this year’s Australian Open I wasn’t sure whether I’d have elbow surgery or not. I was reluctant but then I realised it was the best long-term solution.
“The recent results have not been what we are used to but coming back is a process and all I can do now is knuckle down to some hard work.
“I have had some similar situations in the past but not one quite as challenging as this, so I have to accept it as part of a learning process.”
Djokovic also rubbished recent reports in the Serbian media that his new meat-free diet was harming his fitness and strength.
“I don’t want to elaborate because people have been twisting facts in the past two years and all I’ll say is that I reckon I know what’s best for me as an athlete and a person,” he said.
“It doesn’t affect me what people say, but it does affect those who are close to me.”