Novak Djokovic ‘wanted to quit’ as wife opens up on lowest point of career

Joint Grand Slam record holder, Novak Djokovic, nearly quit tennis in 2018, his wife Jelena Djokovic has revealed. A second-round defeat to Benoit Paire at the 2018 Miami Masters, a third in a row, as well as injuries and a split from then-coach Andre Agassi, left Djokovic tired of tennis.

“After that match, he wanted to quit,” Jelena Djokovic revealed to journalist Graham Bensinger. “He gathered all the members of his team and told them: ‘You know what: I’m done, I’m quitting’. We cried and told him that he couldn’t do it, that it wasn’t the right time. He didn’t want to play tennis, and he didn’t even want to see a ball pass in front of him.”

In the end, it was Djokovic’s wife and kids, Stefan, and Tara that inspired him to pick up a racket again. “He didn’t want to know anything about it,” childhood sweetheart-turned-wife Jelena added. “But I love tennis and I take the kids to the court every day.

“On the third day, Novak arrived. He saw that we were having fun and that it wasn’t a workout like what he had been used to for years. Novak asked me if he could play and get a racket, but I refused.

“I started teasing him and told him that he had given up. That it was our turn to play tennis. In the end, he served and said that he felt good, then he came back every day to finally call his coach Marian Vajda and ask him to resume training.”

Had Djokovic walked away from tennis in 2018, he would have retired a 12-time Grand Slam winner. The Serbian tennis superstar, 36, went on to claim another 12 titles starting the same year as his retirement debate. Djokovic clinched the Wimbledon and US Open titles in 2018.

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Fast forward to the present day and Djokovic joined Margaret Court with the most Grand Slams in history with 24. And 2023 was Djokovic’s year, clinching three out of the four Grand Slams, with victories Down Under, Roland-Garros, and in the US.

Djokovic beat Daniil Medvedev in the final. “It obviously means the world to me,” said Djokovic on winning his 24th major. I’m really living my childhood dream to compete at the highest level in this sport, which has given me and my family so much from difficult circumstances. I never thought I would be here but the last couple of years I thought I had a shot at history. Why not grab it when it is presented?”

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