Novak Djokovic reveals he considered retirement in 2010

Novak Djokovc with the Australian Open 2011 trophy, which ended his 3-year Grand Slam drought
Novak Djokovc with the Australian Open 2011 trophy, which ended his 3-year Grand Slam drought

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic revealed in an interview with Sky Sports Italia Channel that he considered retirement in 2010 due to his on-court struggles at the time. It is rather unfathomable to think that the Serb, who now has 17 Grand Slam titles under his belt, could well have ended with just one.

Having grabbed his maiden Grand Slam title at the 2008 Australian Open while aged just 20, Novak Djokovic was expected to be the torchbearer of the young generation of tennis stars. But things weren't quite so rosy for the Serb in the immediate aftermath of that win, as he endured repeated setbacks at the Slam level for the next three years.

Losses against Federer and Nadal affected me: Novak Djokovic

Roger Federer (L) and Novak Djokovic
Roger Federer (L) and Novak Djokovic

Djokovic found himself in a quandary as he couldn't keep pace with his great rivals - Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. After his Australian Open success, Djokovic lost four of his next five encounters with Roger Federer in Grand Slams and all four of his Grand Slam matches against Rafael Nadal.

"I had won in Australia in 2008 and was No. 3 in the world, but I was not happy," Djokovic said. "I knew I could do more, but I lost important games against Federer and Nadal."

Djokovic admitted that the consecutive losses against Federer and Nadal frustrated him to no end, before one particular incident in 2010 almost pushed him over the edge.

I cried a lot after losing to Jurgen Melzer at Roland Garros 2010: Novak Djokovic

The 2010 French Open loss to Jurgen Melzer was a turning point in Djokovic's career
The 2010 French Open loss to Jurgen Melzer was a turning point in Djokovic's career

Novak Djokovic considers the 2010 Roland Garros quarter-final against Austrian Jurgen Melzer as the turning point of his career. Djokovic was up two sets to love against Melzer but ended up squandering numerous chances before going on to lose the match.

Reflecting on the defeat, Djokovic said:

“Against Melzer in Roland Garros, during the quarters, this defeat was really difficult for me emotionally. I cried a lot after this defeat because I had a moment in my life, my career, when everything happened in a fusion in which I really did not see a reason to keep on playing, I wanted to quit tennis.”

The Serb further said he felt really bogged down by the pressure at that time, and that the low point against Melzer acted as a moment of release.

“After that moment I felt I was freed," Djokovic said. "The accumulation of this pressure was making me too tired to play, I wasn’t feeling the joy, I wasn’t feeling free to really play in a way, a type, a style of play which was aggressive.”

As things turned out, Djokovic did indeed start playing more aggressively after that. He rebounded in spectacular fashion the next year, winning three out of the four Slams, and has added a further 13 since then. By contrast, Nadal and Federer have aggregated 10 and 4 Grand Slam titles respectively during this period.

Before the tennis tour was brought to a grinding halt due to the coronavirus pandemic, Novak Djokovic was having a dream start to the season. He was unbeaten for the year, having lifted the ATP Cup with Serbia and an unprecedented eighth Australian Open in Melbourne, followed by a fifth triumph at the Dubai Tennis Championships.

The Serb, who recently said that he sees himself playing even at 40, will surely be eager for the season to resume.

It is unimaginable to think of all the high-quality tennis that the world would have been deprived of had the legendary Serb quit the sport in 2010. For that reason alone, tennis fans should probably be thankful to Jurgen Melzer for beating Novak Djokovic on that fateful day in 2010.

Rafael Nadal and wife Maria Francisca Perello spotted with infant son. click here for pictures.

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Edited by Musab Abid
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