Novak Djokovic on his tough childhood: I came from nothing

Updated: Feb 04, 2020, 14:33 IST | AFP | Melbourne

Australian Open champ and World No. 1 Djokovic says tough childhood made him a fighter

Novak Djokovic with the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup at Melbourne's Royal Botanic Gardens on Monday. Pic/AFP
Novak Djokovic with the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup at Melbourne's Royal Botanic Gardens on Monday. Pic/AFP

Melbourne: All-conquering Novak Djokovic said a turbulent childhood where he had to queue for milk and bread in war-torn Serbia made him hungry for success, after he fought back to win his eighth Australian Open. Djokovic, 32, needed to dig deep to rally from two sets to one down for the first time in a Grand Slam final and battle past fifth-seeded Austrian Dominic Thiem 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4. The win lifted him past Rafael Nadal to the World No. 1 spot in the latest ATP rankings published on Monday.

Meanwhile, Sofia Kenin's rise to a career-high seventh in the world after her surprise Australian Open triumph was confirmed Monday. Djokovic's eighth victory in eight finals at Melbourne Park handed him a 17th Major to move within three of Roger Federer's all-time 20. Asked how he managed to keep winning in pressure situations, Djokovic said it stemmed from his early life. "My upbringing was in Serbia during several wars in the '90s, difficult time, embargo in our country where we had to wait in line for bread, milk, water, some basic things in life," he said.

"These kind of things make you stronger and hungrier for success I think in whatever you choose to do. That probably has been my foundation, the very fact that I came from literally nothing and difficult life circumstances together with my family and with my people. Going back to that, reminding myself where I came from always inspires me, motivates me to push even harder. That's probably one of the reasons why I managed to find that extra gear or necessary mental strength to overcome challenges," he added.

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