Djokovic feeling ‘liberated’ from pressure

Former world number one Novak Djokovic is looking forward to arriving at Wimbledon without much expectation to win the tournament.

Strange as that my sound, it must be mentally exhausting to be the favourite at every tournament you enter, which was certainly the case for Djokovic after his exceptional run from 2011 to 2016 saw him win eleven grand slams.

Now, after a difficult year, the Serb finds himself at world number four with his lack of form – instead of title victories – making the headlines. Always one to find the silver lining, Djokovic is making the best of the situation.

"It is 'liberating' a bit…it releases a bit of the pressure….it's always there," the 30-year-old said of the pressure to win events on atpworldtour.com.

"I mean, you still feel it. It's part of who I am, what I do. And what I have achieved so far has added to those expectations from the people around.

"I was very fortunate and privileged to have so much success in the past eight, nine years, and kind of enter most of the tournaments as one of the biggest favourites to win it.

“I try to lower those expectations myself, because I really want to be as much as I can, at this stage of my life and career, in the moment and try to focus only on what comes up next.

"That doesn't mean that I don't want to win trophies and so forth. Of course I do, that's why I'm playing professional tennis. But it's just that I need to take things a bit slower and try and recalibrate so I can get to the level where I want to get."

'Recalibrate' is an interesting choice of words, because that is exactly what Djokovic is trying to do. He is in new territory after firing his entire coaching staff and now, in the spirit of a turning over a new leaf, is playing in a warm-up event before Wimbledon for the first time in six seasons. 

Djokovic is the top seed at this week’s Aegon International in Eastbourne, England, a place where he is enjoying himself. 

"It's a very kind of informal tournament in a good way, where you can go around the grounds and kind of interact with people," continued the 12-time grand slam winner.

"Sure, people come up to you, but they respect you if you're going with a purpose to a certain court to observe a match or something like that. That's what happened the other day. People are really kind of respectful and giving me space for certain time until I finished with my scouting."

Perhaps this change of pace is exactly what Djokovic needs to find his mojo. Only time will tell…

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