Novak Djokovic 'underestimated' emotional impact of Australian Open visa saga

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Returning to competition in Dubai, in what ended up being his first tournament in three months, Djokovic soon discovered it wouldn’t be that easy. “But then I realised as I started to play official matches that it’s actually not easy to just finish off with that, I had to still deal with that feeling of being – I don’t know. 

“It’s hard to explain, I don’t have any words for that particularly but it’s just that feeling that was holding back a little bit, particularly in the the first couple of tournaments, in those matches I felt like I wasn’t myself. I was a bit more nervous than usual and kind of more in a defensive mode mentally when I started to play points officially so it took me a little bit of time to go through that.”

After his back-to-back losses, the world No 1 was able to achieve his best result of the season so far when he reached the final in Belgrade recently, and in Madrid has now scored his “best win of the year so far” against Gael Monfils, winning his first and so far only match at the tournament 6-3 6-2. “I think in Serbia now with the crowd support and that great energy that I experienced there, [it] really helped me to go through it so hopefully from now onwards it will go back to [the] optimal balance that I need in order to perform my best,” he concluded.


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