Novak Djokovic Says Fatherhood Has Given Him A New Perspective
(Reuters) - Like any new father, Novak Djokovic has quickly developed a new perspective on life and tennis.
The Serbian won his fifth Australian Open title on Sunday, beating Andy Murray 7-6(5) 6-7(4) 6-3 6-0 but his thoughts turned to family, rather than the trophy he had just won.
For Djokovic, the win was all the sweeter because it was his first grand slam title since he and his wife Jelena celebrated the birth of their first child last October.
"I think it has deeper meaning, a more intrinsic value now to my life because I'm a father and a husband," he told a news conference.
"As my life progresses, there are circumstances, situations, events that define these beautiful moments.
"Getting married and becoming a father in the last six months was definitely something that gave me a new energy, something that I never felt before. And right now everything has been going in such a positive direction in my life.
"I'm so grateful for that so I try to live these moments with all my heart."
Djokovic may have become a doting dad but the 27-year-old also showed that he still has all his fighting instincts after surviving a tough scrap with Briton Murray.
Djokovic was showing signs of fatigue in the third set after the first two had taken more than two and a half hours to complete, and later laughed off suggestions he was faking to throw Murray off his game.
"I'm not going to talk bad things about him in the press or find any excuses or something like this," Djokovic said.
"I wasn't cramping. I didn't call a timeout because I had no reason to call it. I was just weak. I went through the physical crisis in the matter of 20 minutes.
"I haven't felt that too many times in my career. But knowing in the back of my mind that it was a similar situation two years ago in the Australian Open final, 2013, where two sets went over two hours, it was a similar battle.
"I felt that I had some physical edge over him in that match. That was in the back of my mind. That was something that kept me going. And obviously the importance of the moment, being in finals of a grand slam. I didn't want to give up. I try never to give up."
Djokovic now has eight grand slams in total but the Australian Open has been his most successful by far. He has also won Wimbledon twice and the U.S. Open once.
The French Open is the only major to have eluded him and he was reluctant to answer when asked if he would trade one of his wins in Australia for a victory in Paris.
"I've had, thankfully many great moments on the court in grand slams. I think every grand slam win is special in its own way. I can't really compare," he said.
"This tournament by far has been my most successful tournament in my life, in my career. I enjoy playing here, enjoy coming back.
"I strongly believe everything happens for a reason in life. I try not to waste my energy thinking, 'what if, what if,' so forth.
"For a reason I've been playing so well here and winning five titles, and for a reason I haven't won the French Open yet. I'll keep pushing and keep working and keep believing I can make it, at least once, until my career ends."
(Editing by Mark Meadows)