As you walk from the subway in North Greenwich you will be on the way to the O2 Arena Novak Djokovic welcomed. The escalator is lined with Serbian posters wearing the crocodile polo shirts. The 31-year-old is an hour's man, led by the game operators as a clear favorite for the title of the ATP final. It would be his sixth.
His way back to the top is impressive and made possible by Swiss help. It was only when he had his right elbow that ran at Muttenz Race Course at the beginning of February that he was thinking of getting back to his best level.
In an interview with Daily Telegraph, he now saw back to that time. After the procedure he repeatedly had tears for two or three days. "When I thought about it, it seemed like I had failed." Just as in 2016 for Roger Federer (meniscus surgery), Djokovic was the first surgical procedure. And he had driven him for as long as possible.
"I think the human body is healing itself," he explained. "Therefore, I never want to put myself in the position that an operation is necessary, but this time it was inevitable. That was the compromise I had to make. Because I did not want to experience such a year anymore."
One year of analgesics
What does he mean? For a year he had swallowed analgesics to play at all. Others did their entire career, but there was nothing for him. After the Australian Open 2018, his first tournament after six months, he realized that his attempt to circumvent the operation failed.
The difficulty for him was also long to find out what procedure and doctor he could trust. He consulted six or seven surgeons before deciding on the bank clinic. For over a month, he felt guilty after surgery, after which he said to himself: "It is up to me to decide if I want to be grateful or bitter."
His athletic bottom was in Indian Wells and Miami, where he dropped twice on the opening block – against Taro Daniel and Benoît Paire on his early comeback. He felt completely lost in court, he acknowledges now. Everyone had recommended playing again only five weeks after the operation. But he did it anyway. Even if it was a mistake, he did not regret anything. You just have to make mistakes. After all, he had always thought he could make it back to the top. "But I thought I needed more time."
Away from "healer" Pepe Imaz
The key figure on the way back was Marian Vajda, with which he has worked together since the season. The 53-year-old Slovak, who had just been called this year's coach, made a condition when Djokovic asked him if he would return to him: to break away from the Spanish healer Pepe Imaz. Not a simple decision, because Novak's younger brother Marko is one of the coaches of the Imaz Academy of Marbella. In addition, Vajda could convince his protégé, who was a strict vegetarian, at least to eat fish again.
The return to Vajda ended Djokovic's desperate search for something new. He was not happy with Andre Agassi, and Radek Stepanek, with which he is still good friends, was not the answer. "Marian is more than a coach for me," says Djokovic. "He is part of my family." During the twelve months, we did not cooperate, we kept in touch, talked about life, about the family, about tennis. Our connection is indestructible. "It was the best for him in the hard time to return to the tried and true "to those people who know and understand me best". In July, the Austrian coach Gebhard Gritsch returned to the Serbs.
He has learned a lot again, Djokovic told Daily Telegraph. And became philosophical: "Every day, there is a chance for us to grow and get to know each other better. I think the answer is in us. If we are looking for her, we'll find her."
Created: 12.11.2018, 19:18 clock