Whether you love him or you hate him, as a 24-time Grand Slam champion, there is definitely something we can all learn from Novak Djokovic.
Novak Djokovic has made it increasingly difficult to deny the fact that he may be the best tennis player in history now that he has won his 24th Grand Slam, equalling the all-time record for most major singles titles held by Margaret Court. His most recent US Open victory marks his third Grand Slam win of the year, as he only missed out on the Wimbledon title for 2023 — this also makes him the first man to win three major titles in a season four times, as he accomplished this same feat in 2011, 2015, and 2021.
In the world of tennis, and in the men’s scene specifically, no one is more accomplished than Novak Djokovic. And while he is not necessarily a public favorite, his dominance in the sport is something that we can learn from.
Here are five life lessons worth taking from the king of tennis.
1. Dream big
When Novak Djokovic won the 2023 US Open to equal the record of 24 Grand Slam titles, the Serbian tennis star was filled with emotions, and as he accepted yet another major trophy, he looked back at the dream he had just fulfilled.
“I would like to send a message to every young person out there. I was a seven-year-old dreaming that I could win Wimbledon and be World No. 1 one day,” he expressed.
That seven-year-old with a dream went on to do much more than just win Wimbledon and become World No. 1. As of now, Novak Djokovic has won the US Open four times, has 10 Australian Open titles, has lifted the Wimbledon trophy seven times, and has four French Open titles. His dreams took him further than he might have ever imagined.
2. Manifest greatness
Dreaming is one thing, but creating the power to fulfill those dreams is another thing. And this is something that Novak Djokovic knows a little bit about.
“I am beyond grateful but I feel I had the power to create my own destiny. I believe it and feel it with every cell in my body. Be in the present moment, forget about the past,” he said to the crowd after his US Open win.
To win, one needs more than just a dream. More than that, athletes need to believe that they actually can win, and this is where they can drive their power from. As Djokovic himself says, “If you want a better future, you create it.”
3. Put in the work
Of course, you can dream and manifest all day long, but the results won’t show unless you put in the work. This may be the area in which Djokovic excels the most and what sets him apart from other athletes.
“It’s no excuses. He always [tries] to find a way how to win, how to fight, even when he’s not feeling well, injured, not injured,” Djokovic’s coach, Goran Ivanisevic said after the US Open victory.
The Serbian won his first-ever Grand Slam at the 2008 Australian Open, and 15 years later, he is still dominating the sport, taking three out of the four major Grand Slam titles of 2023. The results show because of his dedication to the sport. He takes care of his body by practicing a strict diet, following a strict training regimen, and living out a balanced lifestyle. He is one of the toughest opponents because he is tough on himself.
4. Don’t set limits for yourself
Djokovic’s most recent US Open title has made him the oldest Grand Slam singles champion in the Open Era of tennis. At 36 years old, you’d think that the results would start to wane off by now and that other youngsters would begin to create the kind of dominance he started some 10 to 12 years ago. Playing against Daniil Medvedev in the US Open finals — a talented player who defeated the reigning Wimbledon champion, Carlos Alcaraz, and who is nine years younger than Djokovic — the 24-time Grand Slam champ won the match in three straight sets.
Novak has proven that despite common beliefs and trends, sports still have no true limits.
5. Stay determined
While he is the most successful player, Novak Djokovic is not the most beloved tennis player in the world. Unlike people’s champions Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, who have reached incredible records themselves, the Serbian has never been as popularly accepted, perhaps because of his demeanor on the court. He exhibits what some might call a ‘cocky’ attitude, and has faced many critics throughout his career. But he does not let this faze him.
“I don’t mind. It’s not the first; probably not the last,” he said after being booed by a crowd. “I’ll just keep winning.”
And he does. What makes Djokovic a formidable opponent is the fact that he stays in his own lane. He blocks out the naysayers because he believes in his own abilities — he does not need anyone else to believe in him. But, after 24 Grand Slams, it’s difficult not to.
With the way Novak Djokovic has performed all throughout 2023, it’s hard to imagine him stopping any time soon — the number 24 may only get higher and higher, and trends would say that this is very likely. But even if by some miracle, he stops here, he has already cemented himself among the greatest athletes of all time, a figure that many young athletes can learn from.
Banner image from US Open on Facebook.