Djokovic insists he’s ‘not lying’ about what he did to save US Open dreams

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Novak Djokovic has insisted that he ‘isn’t lying’ when he credits the pep talk that he gave himself prior to beating Laslo Djere at the US Open. The Serb had to fight from two sets down to see off his opponent and book himself a spot in the fourth round.

Djokovic showcased the grit and determination that has made him one of the legends of the sport when producing a historic comeback against fellow Serbian Djere in New York. The 23-time Grand Slam winner came from two sets down to win the match 4-6 4-6 6-1 6-1 6-3 in a gruelling but enthralling three-hour, 45-minute clash.

Given his slow start, it looked unlikely that Djokovic would see off his rival and book his spot in the fourth round to face Croatian qualifier Bora Gojo. However, the 36-year-old feels that a quick break to talk to himself in the mirror proved decisive on the night.

Speaking after the match, Djokovic explained in an on-court interview: “Actually I did. And I’m not lying. I did a pep talk in the mirror and kind of laughed at myself because I was so p***ed off, annoyed, and agitated with the result, but I had to force myself to lift myself up, to lift the spirits up a little bit.

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“I’ve done it a few times in my career. It worked. A few times it didn’t work, but tonight it did and I’m grateful.”

Djokovic has spoken previously about how he likes to talk himself out of trouble, notably after his win in the Wimbledon 2022 final, and revealed that he began to enforce the motivational technique after hearing how basketball star Kobe Bryant spoke in depth about how you needed to convince yourself that you can improve in order to play any sport to the very highest level.

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The No. 2 seed made it no secret that his match against Djere was a hard-fought win and that a simple pep talk would not be all that he needed to secure the win. He explained: “Unbelievable. It’s almost 2am, a large number of people stayed.

“I hope [the fans] enjoyed the show, it was definitely not so enjoyable for me, especially in the first two sets. It was one of the toughest matches I’ve played here in many years. Huge, huge credit to Laslo for playing some of the best tennis that I’ve ever seen him play.”

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