In the recently concluded Australian Open, Novak Djokovic yet again won another title.
He now has 22 Grand Slam wins to his name, 10 of which he won in Melbourne. With this record, he has tied his rival, Rafael Nadal, for the most titles in the Open era.
Djokovic is 35 years old, and he swept 24-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas in three straight sets. But, when the Serbian was Tsitsipas’ age, he was already beating the veterans at the time.
So what makes Novak so challenging to beat, even after all these years?
1. He is holistically fit
Novak Djokovic is one of the fittest athletes in the world. And this is definitely highlighted by his daily routine.
Of course, like most other tennis players, the 22-time Grand Slam champion dedicates hours on the court to keep his skillset sharp, and hours in the gym to keep his body conditioned. But one thing that might stand out about his program is yoga.
Djokovic considers yoga a vital part of his training. Every morning, he starts his day with about 20 minutes of a good flow to help him maintain “an optimal state of mind and have peace and calm in life.”
While this is a good way to stay mentally strong, it is also likely what makes Djokovic incredibly flexible on the court. This is how he’s able to chase after any shot — no matter how tough it looks — without facing injury.
2. He has the best backhand
Novak Djokovic has arguably one of the best backhands in all of tennis.
The backhand is an important move that all tennis players should master. Often, players use this as an aggressive method of returning an opponent’s shot. And, if used in the right way, it will force your opponent to maneuver around the court.
Djokovic has mastered his two-handed backhand years ago, and it was what helped him overcome two of the other greats in the sport: Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
In fact, because of his backhand, his opponents would often try to target Djokovic’s forehand instead. However, his forehand is still impressive too.
3. He can have it both ways
Another thing about Novak Djokovic is that he can win under any circumstances — whether he wants a long game or a quick one.
The current World No. 1 men’s tennis player has swept his opponents several times, even in the finals of Grand Slams. In fact, he did it just last weekend, sweeping Stefanos Tsitsipas in three sets to win his 10th Australian Open.
But, even when his matches go all the way up to five sets, he still manages to conquer the endurance game and go all the way.
For instance, in the 2021 Roland Garros, also against Tsitsipas, Djokovic lost the first two sets, giving his opponent a sure advantage. But even so, he went on to win all three remaining sets to claim another Grand Slam title.
4. He can play under any circumstances
We literally mean any circumstances.
In his recent Australian Open victory, reports came out revealing that Novak Djokovic competed in the finals with a three-centimeter-long hamstring tear.
Anyone who watched the finals between Djokovic and Tsitsipas would tell you that the Serbian was in top form. After all, he barely let Tsitsipas get a solid lead throughout the entire match. But it turns out, he was actually suffering from an injury.
5. Mental toughness
Ultimately, it all comes down to Djokovic’s mentality.
He is one of the most mentally-strong athletes in the world. Whether he is down by two sets, suffering from an injury, or losing his temper and breaking his rackets, Novak Djokovic will still manage to keep a level head to win a match.
This is because of his upbringing. The champion often credits his strength to growing up in a war-torn Serbia in the 90s. As an athlete, he was able to overcome the challenges of a country that was stricken by war.
With this, he surely knows that he can bend the odds to his favor by taking control of what is in front of him — a court, an opponent, a ball. And it has made him the legend that he is today.
Banner image from Novak Djokovic on Instagram.