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Novak Djokovic has become aware that before being a tennis player he is a human being, says Pepe Imaz

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic
Modified 27 Feb 2021

Pepe Imaz recently claimed that World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has done a lot of work on his inner self over the last few years, which has helped him tremendously on the professional front as well.

Pepe Imaz has been a part of Djokovic's inner circle for a long time now. But while the 46-year-old used to travel with Djokovic to some tournaments in the past, lately he has been playing a more behind-the-scenes role.

In a recent interview, Pepe Imaz claimed that Novak Djokovic has realized the importance of valuing himself as a human being first. Imaz's comments came after Djokovic's latest Australian Open title, which he won amid some very challenging circumstances.

"Novak Djokovic has spent years working on himself, his interior, understanding that when one is better inside, everything he does, he does it with more harmony, and (does it) better at the end of the day," Imaz stated.
Pepe Imaz watches Novak Djokovic at the ATP Finals in 2016
Pepe Imaz watches Novak Djokovic at the ATP Finals in 2016

While Imaz did not divulge specifics of the work they have done, he claimed the process has been an ongoing one over a long period of time.

"We have not worked on anything in particular and, in general, on everything that was being done," Imaz said. "It is not something that is done in a month or two months or to focus on something specific."
"It is more a base of work that in the end is to become aware and prioritize that before being a tennis player you are a person and a human being," he added. "When you enter that part, the other is still important but does not have the same relevance."

Pepe Imaz went on to explain that the work Novak Djokovic has done has helped him over the last year in particular, which has been a difficult one for the entire world.

"In this difficult year that we have all lived, Novak Djokovic has become even more aware of the importance of what is the human being, the family and prioritizing things," Imaz said. "I think that has helped him. "
"The calm that you get through the result, that does not depend on you, you can have it today and not tomorrow," he went on. "The intrinsic calm is more solid and goes within you, that is the one you have to nurture."

(Imaz's quotes have been translated using Google Translate)

"When there are 3 people with that determination, it is not easy" - Pepe Imaz on Novak Djokovic's quest for the all-time Grand Slam record

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic

During the interview, Pepe Imaz also touched upon Novak Djokovic's quest to break the record for most Grand Slams in men's tennis. The Serb's Australian Open title marked his 18th Major, taking him to within two of the all-time record which is jointly held by rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Imaz feels that breaking the record won't be easy, but he claimed that Djokovic is determined to get it done. And like the rest of the tennis world, the 46-year-old is intrigued to see how the race pans out in the time ahead.

"Novak Djokovic's desire and goal at a professional and tennis level is to achieve the maximum possible Grand Slams," Imaz said. "He has it in his sights, and he has a lot of determination."
"But when there are 3 people with that determination, it is not easy," he added. "Rafa and Novak are people with impressive mental strength. It will be nice to see what happens year after year."
Published 27 Feb 2021, 14:52 IST
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