After being joined by Andy Murray on Friday the world number one Novak Djokovic announced on Saturday he would be joined by Stan Wawrinka!
ND – “STANIMAL”
SW – “You’re on time for the first time ever, maybe you can be on time to the practice court”
SW – Is that French Open ball?
ND – (showed some balls from Australian Open 2013 – “you remember, 12-10, how did it go?
ND – Roland Garros I think I played finals (in 2015) but I don’t know what happened that day, did you play that year? do you remember? Oh you are the guy with the funny shorts!
ND – Lets start with shorts please
Stan shows keyring with shorts on
ND – what is the story behind the shorts? Idea, colour, style, I would like to know everything
SW – there isn’t much to say. I first tried them in Tokyo 2014…
ND – you didn’t have a say in design?
SW – no not in that, after that we started to have more conversation about that.
ND – Those shorts won you one of the biggest titles in the short
SW – I think people remember more about the shorts than the trophy win
SW – been spending a lot of time with my daughter which is nice and difference and have been doing some home schooling
ND – same thing, nice chat with Andy about being at home. It is strange as it first time in last 15 years I’ve been in one place for almost 2 months and spent quality time with my family.
ND – I try to see everything that is happening now as a positive for spending time with family
ND – are you learning new skills or languages?
SW – I’m trying to teach my daughter
ND – I like languages
SW – you already speak like 10 languages
ND – there’s over 200 languages, starting a little bit of Russia and French maybe you can help with that. Also German too
ND – what are you reading these day?
SW – Reading about sports athletes and others
Andy Murray & Recovery
ND – did you watch Andy’s documentary?
SW – yeah of course, I loved it. Everything that can give you something that shows you something more is very interesting and great.
ND – it gives you insight and he wasn’t struggling with injuries the last three years and shows what he’s going for.
ND – the bit they showed surgery was too much for me, hard to watch
SW – When I was younger I had (knee surgery) in 2007 and then in 2017 and it took me a lot of time. In tennis it never stops.
ND – what do you feel mentally is the toughest challenge when coming back?
SW – to be patient and to accept it and take time you need. At the time I was at my best level and it was tough to accept it and there was a lot of question marks if my knee would end on that surgery and if I could come back.
SW – when I came back in Australia 6 months later I knew I was off my level but I knew I could get better and better and it took almost a year.
ND – I was sharing the same with Andy yesterday, how it effects mental state and character but because of ranking is and losing points you have to rebuild everything from the beginning.
ND – I agree with you that emotional aspect of internally have this conversation with yourself in a supportive way is tough coming back to same environment where you’ve won big tournaments but your body and mentally you have to reprogram yourself but mentally its tough as it was your last memory on court and create doubts when obstacles come. Am I capable? Am I ready enough?
ND – for me personally tennis court is a place where I get challenged the most in my life. Emotionally, physical and mental.
ND – how did your private life and everything you experienced with you family and off the court effect your performance?
ND – it never resonated as I’m the same on and off the court, on the court I turn into a warrior but I felt everything I was experiencing in life would transform onto the court.
SW – private life always affects the way you feel. During my career, I could get into my bubble and it doesn’t matter what was happening outside but when I was on the court nothing else could affect me but this was only at a few tournaments (Grand Slams)
ND – what is the biggest motivation for you now?
SW – Since 2017 surgery and since the level I reached I feel good with it. I appreciate more what I’m doing. Before that I used to worry about the next tournament and not appreciate winning and the way I’m playing. The emotion with people on the court.
SW – I feel like last year was my best year on the court, French Open … something I really enjoy!
ND – you have to pace yourself and I’m a big believe in work smart not just work hard
ND – Andy I spoke yesterday about the appreciation of success and because of the constant travel, events, expectation you’re on the road at the top. You move form one tournament to another, surface, country and continent with no time to celebrate big win. Madrid & Rome back too back for example.
ND – It makes our sport special but reminds us in this time for us to practice to be more present.
The Crowd vs Roger
SW – how do you deal with especially when you play Roger with crowd against you?
ND – of course it’s not easy when you have most of the people in the stand against you. I personally feel as long as there is respect, if they cheer for my opponent and don’t disrespect me I am ok with that. If there is a disrespect I can react emotional. I understand that there is as well reactions I have had towards the crowd in my career I am proud of them and am not in favour of and are not necessary and I have to preserve the engird for what I have to do. We are all people and we get distracted and emotional.
ND – Earlier in my career especially against Rafa and Roger it was tougher for me, I felt like it was not fair and I deserved more support and I spent too much energy on that. As my own evolution as an athletic I accepted it and by accepting and by accepting it I felt huge relief and I use that energy on the court.
Novak’s son Stefan comes to say hi to Stan!
ND – What I said after the Wimbledon finals lat year which was one of the most epic matches. It was really interesting with the crowd, it was obvious most of the crowd cheering for him.
SW – why do you think it’s still like that?
ND – various things to say why, Roger is arguably greatest of all time. He is liked all around the world. I’m ok with that, it is Roger and very similar with Rafa.
ND – Am I contributing to that in a sense of Am I taking away the crowd support of me? I don’t think so
ND – Nice guys, humble guys and great champions. I’m in their era, in one way I’m lucky and one way I’m not.
SW – In a movie you can’t have three good guys, you need someone a bit against. Im saying that with a lot of respect. I feel like when all three of you were younger that was the direction and people see that now.
ND – It’s true, I was this confident young player who respects Roger and Rafa but I can win big titles and become world number one and it created feelings with people thinking who is this guy challenging Rafa and Roger, a bit like me against the world.
Stan had a question from his coach Magnus Norman to Novak about the impact of his coach Marian Vajda
SW – what was for you the part of your game he most influenced?
ND – we’ve been working together since 2006, it’s been 15 years and Marian’s been there since around day 1.
ND – Marian has been an incredible role model for me in my life, he’s more than a tennis coach. Brother, father and family to me. When I was struggle mentally I went into his room crying and in 2010 it happened and he helped me after losing to Melzer in 2010 Roland Garros from two sets up and also Milan my physiotherapist.
ND – In terms of technically stuff on the court, I think he has helped me with positioning on the court and how too technically execute the right shots at the right time.
Boris Becker is watching
ND – he (Boris) helped with my serve, earlier in my career I was serving well and then this elbow injury. Everything started to change, my technique and lost my rhythm.
SW – quick joke for Boris, Australian Open quarter final you served and volleyed against me and missed the volley and that was the transition when you started to go up.
ND – laughs
ND – same with Boris and now Goran now. Me and Marian always try to see where we can improve in the game. Tactics, strategy, positioning as at the highest level everything matters.
ND – mostly on how to strategically place myself on the court
ND – what do you feel Magnus has contributed?
SW – we are really close like a close friend! We share everything, he’s seen me cry a few times, not as many as you
SW – I think in my game, to practice in a way where it comes back a bit more automatic when you are in a match. That’s something that has helped me to get confidence and a reason why I started to win bigger matches.
Warming up & Smashes…
ND – Do you feel like you need to hit an extra ball in warm-up or less is more?
SW – for me less is more, I do need to make sure I have the hours of practice.
SW – I know when I’m ready and I can turn off before the match a few days before at times
ND – sometimes for me, I do both. I feel like less is more but if I miss a smash I will work at it and it can go for 45
SW – smash wise it isn’t working yet for you
ND – laughs
ND – Anyone out there who knows how to hit a proper overhead message me and I’ll respond
What match did you lose and feel the most angry?
ND – RG 2015 against you and other in 2016 at New York. For some reason you make me angry man! haha!
SW – you think you played bad or because you lost?
ND – both matches I lost were finals but I felt were similar trajectory. Won first set and close games in the second set you picked up and your level was better than mine and you beat me. I wasn’t upset with the way you played but the upset the same thing happened twice and I had opportunities in that second set on both occasions to lead.
ND – what about you?
SW – Me? World Tour Finals against Roger in semi-finals. That day I let him win, I made mistakes I shouldn’t have done
SW – Gasquet Wimbledon, I was really angry not to have chance to play you in semi-final!
How long does it take you to get over those matches?
SW – In World Tour Finals, it took a day but I had to pick up for the Davis Cup
SW – earlier on in my career it took me longer to get over matches but after winning my first Grand Slam is was shorter
ND – do you like watching and analysing your own matches?
SW – I’m not the best at that, I feel like I know what I did and where I lost the match. Where I went defensive. For me watching, it doesn’t help me unless with my team and they give me feedback.
ND – Same for me, I love watching tennis during the tournament. Always following others and analysing their games and picking up things I can use.
ND – Even at home I look on YouTube and research all the players and analyse and try out next time I’m on the practice court.
ND – I fast forward to a certain point and look at that instead of analysing it all.
SW – With age you know more and anticipate more
Where do you see tennis after Corona?
SW – when is it going to be after Corona?
ND – question most of the people don’t know
SW – we as tennis come from all over the world and play all over the world. Even at Grand Slams without fans how can it happen when events have 2000 staff
ND – time of unpredictability is something we aren’t use to. In tennis we make our schedule and plans one year ahead, it is interesting and disturbing.
ND – the disadvantage to tennis compared to national sports is with travel to different countries and continents week by week
ND – what about vaccinations? Will it be an obligatory vaccination in order to travel? A lot of question marks. Maybe consider different concepts and play in certain continents.
ND – I hope it doesn’t come down to that as our sport is about international opportunity and travel to see fans and play all over the world.
ND – guys who are ranked between 250 and 700 are thinking about leaving tennis as they don’t make living.
SW – that’s my question
How do you think tennis can help those players ranked 250 in the world or lower and help survive through this?
ND – short term, I spoke to Roger and Rafa and we had a long conversation in near future and how we can contribute lower ranked people who are struggling the most. Majority of players outside top 250 don’t have federation support or sponsors.
ND – They are independent and so I’m really glad ATP, Grand Slams and players hopefully we can all get together and contribute to player relief fund that the ATP can distribute. You want to make sure someone ranked lower is in need of the funds and criteria the ATP is working with. There will hopefully be somewhere between 3-4.5 million dollars distributed to the lower ranked guys.
ND – other things short term depend on 2020 season that in certain tournaments that kind of money can be transferred to this relief fund.
ND – Everyone realises the importance of the base of the tennis, these players ranked 250 onwards make the grassroots and future of tennis and that we support them.
ND – we have to show to the younger generation that they can live out of tennis even in a time of pandemic and financial crisis.
ND – long term? What we do in short term is necessary in the long term. ITF, Grand Slam, ATP, WTA all operate individually but must consolidate to come up with plan and system to allow these players to have an easier way of transitioning.
Another good Instagram live with some big questions asked! Good to see the leading men in tennis are stepping forward to help others!