Djokovic conqueror makes candid therapy admission as OCD affected game

Dusan Lajovic has opened up about his struggles with OCD, anxiety and depression in a candid new interview. The Serb made waves last week when he upset compatriot Novak Djokovic in Banja Luka and went on to win the title. And he has now opened up on the impact of having therapy after his tennis was left affected.

Lajovic enjoyed one of the best weeks of his career in Banja Luka, earning his first victory over a world No 1 as he surprised countryman Djokovic. The 32-year-old won the last five points in a row to defeat the top seed 6-4 7-6(6) in the quarter-final, having previously won just four games across their two prior meetings.

He then went on to reach the final, defeating defending champion Andrey Rublev – who came in fresh off the back of winning the Monte Carlo Masters. And the secret to Lajovic’s success could be down to his recent decision to start psychotherapy.

The world No 40 told Clay Tenis that he “should have started therapy many years ago” as he got candid about the mental struggles he faced. “I’m working a lot now in psychotherapy,” Lajovic said.

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Opening up on the difficulties that impacted his game, Lajovic continued: “I started a couple of months ago because I’ve been dealing with a lot lately, like anxiety, OCD, and depressing feelings. That influenced a lot when I was on the court. In tennis you need to fix all the things to perform well. I’m trying to improve myself.”

A former finalist in Monte Carlo, Lajovic explained why he wanted to continue psychotherapy long after he retired. “I see this as a therapy, but also as a training as well. Is something I want to do until the end of my life regardless if I’m playing tennis or not,” he continued.

“It is so important, especially after all the things the world has gone through. First, you need to accept this kind of things, and then you can get on a journey to fixing them. I’m on that journey now. From difficult situations you can either fall down more, or you can accept and go through that as part of the process, and see the tough situation pass.”

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And the mental work is already proving successful for the two-time title winner, who added: “Find room for growth… and if you find it at the end it will make you a better person. Exactly what is happening to me.”

Lajovic also explained why he chose to be honest about his mental struggles, hoping his bravery would help others. “I’m slowly starting to talk about these things. I think is good. If I feel my personal case can help at least one person, I should speak about it,” he said.

“I want to show to people that there are always solutions. Is gonna be a big part of myself in the future because I’m someone who is very much internal, I overthink a lot, so sometime I could produce anxiety for things that hasn’t happen yet. Not productive in tennis, not in life in general.”

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