Novak Djokovic’s head coach Marian Vajda recently gave his thoughts about the Serb's gradual development over the years. Vajda talked about the 2011 season in particular, and explained why it was a life-changing moment for Djokovic.
In 2011, Novak Djokovic won three Majors and five Masters 1000 titles, while also triumphing in Dubai (ATP 500) and Serbia (ATP 250). Djokovic went on a 43-match winning streak (dating from 2010) to start the year, which was eventually snapped by Roger Federer at Roland Garros.
The Serb also flipped the script in his rivalry with fellow Big 3 members Federer and Rafael Nadal. Djokovic registered a combined 10-1 record against the Swiss and the Spaniard in 2011, and perhaps more impressively, lost just four completed matches through the course of the season.
The jewel in the crown for Novak Djokovic was, however, the coveted No. 1 ranking spot. The Serb attained the top spot for the first time in his career after beating Rafael Nadal in the Wimbledon final.
In a recent interview, Marian Vajda revealed that he was worried that his ward would slow down after having achieved all of his major goals. But Djokovic’s coach also marveled at how he ended up stepping on the gas, and continued to dominate Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
"After he became No. 1 in Wimbledon and his life changed, I was worried that would be it as he’d reached his dream," Vajda said. "But now he is dominating the game and is beating the likes of Federer and Nadal, which was impossible before."
Marian Vajda further revealed that before 2011, Novak Djokovic had serious doubts about whether he could reach the No. 1 ranking. But Djokovic refused to give up, and kept putting in the hard yards to get closer to his goals.
"He really did put through the sweat and patience for the sport, developing his game through pain and effort - even when there was a time that he didn’t believe he could make it to No. 1, for those five years between 2006 and 2011," Vajda continued.
Novak Djokovic underwent a laundry list of changes during that period, setting himself on the path to become the near-perfect player that he is today. Djokovic switched to a gluten-free diet, took up a lot of mental conditioning workouts, and worked hard on improving the different aspects of his game - especially his serve.
Marian Vajda highlighted this aspect while suggesting that Novak Djokovic could break many more records if he remains healthy.
"He is physically stronger, altered his diet and changed his attitude to the practices," Vajda said. "If his health remains stable, I know he can break more records, he is very motivated."
Novak Djokovic only strives for records and to win: Goran Ivanisevic
Novak Djokovic’s other coach, Goran Ivanisevic, also shed some light on his the Serb's zealous nature. The Croat revealed that he feels proud at how Djokovic works to improve himself 'every day'.
"With Novak, every day is to improve he pushes to be better and when I see the amazing results, it makes me a better coach," Ivanisevic said.
Ivanisevic did, however, mention that the job of Djokovic’s coach is filled with pressure, because the Serb never likes to finish second best.
"However, it’s not easy, there are a lot of ups and downs with a lot of pressure because a final is not good enough," Ivanisevic added. "Novak only strives for records and to win so it’s a lot of pressure, but without pressure, life is boring!"