Novak Djokovic admits past few months left ‘mental and emotional’ scars, but he is ready to move on

ATP Tour
Novak Djokovic

He concedes that the past few months “can’t be forgotten” and it left a mark on him, but Novak Djokovic will “use it as fuel” to play his best tennis.

The 20-time Grand Slam winner has played on three matches this year – all at the Qatar Open – as he was unable to defend his Australian Open title and was also not allowed to enter the United States to compete at the Indian Wells Open and Miami Open due to his unvaccinated status.

His trip to Australia, in particular, has left scars as he was detained and questioned for several hours by border authorities, spent several days in a detention facility and also went through two court cases.

He was eventually deported from the country after the Immigration Minister Alex Hawke used his personal powers to revoke his visa for a second time.

Ahead of his return to action at the Monte Carlo Masters this week, Djokovic talked about the toll the events took on him.

“Well, it can’t be forgotten. That’s simply impossible, but it can be accepted and one can move on, that is something that has already happened and that it is something that one should no longer worry about, or be held back by what one is experiencing in the moment or what will happen in the future,” the Serbian said.

“I’ve been in lots of situations on and off the court that are kind of traumatic, starting with those disgusting wars while I was growing up, and onwards. It all leaves a scar. This year I experienced what I never experienced in my career, in my life. It certainly left a mark mentally and emotionally. I don’t know how big it is, for how long it will be with me. It’s something I can’t predict and I can’t spend energy thinking about.”

The world No 1 will open his ATP Masters 1000 campaign against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina on Tuesday and he hopes by the time he steps onto the court he will be motivated.

“It’s all still fresh. Somehow I see it all in two parts, what my job is there – the first is to say goodbye to it somehow, that it happened, and to move on. Although, when I’m at a tournament, they remind me of those things and I try not to think about it,” he said.

“On the other hand, that other part of the job is the one that concerns professional tournaments when those official matches start. That is the moment when some things come to the surface.

“I will try to use it as fuel, a constructive game, to play my best tennis, there is always the motivation. However, one should be realistic, although I always have expectations of myself, on the other hand I try not to have too high expectations for this week, because I’ve missed playing many matches. I didn’t play.”