Novak Djokovic is aware that he is not at ‘level’ of previous years as he prepares for Eastbourne debut

The world no.4 Novak Djokovic said that he is aware that he is not at the ‘same level’ as in previous years as he spoke to the media ahead of his eagerly anticipated debut at Devonshire Park, Eastbourne tomorrow.

The 12-time Grand Slam winner, like many of the top players this year has had a difficult season as he has struggled for form. He went out of the French Open to Dominic Thiem in the quarter-finals a couple of weeks ago, and at the beginning of the year he was a surprise exit in the second round of the Australian Open as he lost to Denis Istomin.

Backtrack this time last year, Djokovic was going into Wimbledon as one of overwhelming favourites, but how times have changed in the men’s game.

“It does feel different than 12 months ago, of course,” said the Serbian.

“12 months ago I had four Grand Slams under my belt, and coming into Wimbledon, completely different, you know, mentally than I am today. I still have to trust myself, my abilities to play well, and to win against anybody on any surface,” added the world no.4.

But as Wimbledon is vastly approaching once again, Djokovic knows he is not the same dominant player he was 12 months ago.

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“I’m aware of the fact that I’m not at the level that I was in the previous years, but, you know, sooner or later this kind of circumstances and experiences had to happen, and eventually sooner or later I had to deal with this kind of challenges and it came right now and I have to accept it,” said the 30-year-old.

Players like Djokovic are used to winning all the time, and when that sensation disappears it’s hard to deal with. But Djokovic said he is just concentrating on the process of returning to his dominant self.

“I have to try to work on the court and off the court in order to figure out a way how to get back on the desired level. I’m in the process. How long it’s going to take, I don’t know,” the world no.4 said.

Djokovic continued saying: “I mean, I can’t predict the future, but I can do something that it is in my power, and that’s to really be as committed as possible when I’m playing, you know, when I’m on the tour, when I’m training.”

One of the bigger questions was why the Serbian chose Eastbourne as a warm-up destination instead of others. In previous years Djokovic has never played a warm-up tournament before the Championships.

But speaking about the move to come to Eastbourne, he said: “This year I knew I wanted to play one, but I thought Queen’s and Halle would be too early for me.”

“But I still wanted to play some matches coming into Wimbledon, because I haven’t had too many matches this year all in all and that’s the reason why I came to Eastbourne,” Djokovic said.

Djokovic will begin his quest for AEGON International gold against Canadian Vasek Pospisil on centre court on Tuesday morning.


Images credit –  Getty Images – Mike Hewitt

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