Novak Djokovic ‘isn’t a machine’ and has five things he needs to ‘accept and recover from’

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NOVAK DJOKOVIC has played just two tournaments this year and suffered two defeats.

Novak Djokovic has been told he has several things he needs to move on from before becoming victorious once more. Former world No 1 Justine Henin outlined the five “emotional shocks” he has suffered in the last few seasons as she warned fans the Serb wasn’t “a machine” but threw her support behind Djokovic’s ability to overcome his past setbacks.

Djokovic is yet to hit the ground running in his 2022 season after being kept out of several tournaments over his unvaccinated status. The world No 1 has played just two tournaments this year and has a 2-2 win-loss record, most recently crashing out of the Monte Carlo Masters in his opening round.

He has now been told his results will come after he “accepts and moves on from” several difficult moments he has faced in recent years, including his inability to compete in the Australian Open, Indian Wells and Miami because of his lack of vaccination. Henin has warned the 20-time Major champion of the five emotional challenges she believes are stopping him from achieving more huge success.

“We must not underestimate the emotional seesaw and everything that Novak went through,” the seven-time Grand Slam champion told Eurosport. “Not only the Australian Open and not only the fact that he tried to win the 21st Grand Slam this summer at the US Open. It should be remembered that in 2020 he was disqualified at the US Open.”

As well as Djokovic’s tough start to 2022, he was forced to watch his rival Rafael Nadal surpass his Grand Slam count and win a record 21st Major title in Australia. It came after the 34-year-old failed to clinch the record himself at last year’s US Open, falling at the final hurdle in the final to Daniil Medvedev which left him tied with Nadal and Roger Federer on 20 titles.

Noting two more challenges the 86-time title winner has faced in recent years, Henin added: “After that he had that heavy defeat from Nadal at Roland Garros the same year. Then came that abdominal muscle injury and a miraculous win at the Australian Open 2021. I’m not saying it will all affect the rest of his career, but he has to accept it all and recover from it all.”

Novak Djokovic

The world No 1 had suffered a heavily one-sided loss to Nadal at the French Open in 2020, losing 6-0 6-2 7-5 but managed to get his revenge over the Spaniard the following year in the semi-final. His win over the 13-time French Open champion came months after he won the Aussie Open with a muscle tear.

While Henin thought Djokovic was suffering something of a mental block with the five setbacks still on his mind, the Belgian tennis legend backed him to return to his winning ways and fired a reminder to fans that the world No 1 was still human.

“These are all factors to consider when talking about Novak now. However, I think he will recover and we will see old Novak sooner or later, so I am not overly worried at this stage,” she explained. “These players are not machines. Novak has shown that he can cope with many things and that the harder it is for him, the more he manages to return, the question is how long can he continue like that?”

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