How Djokovic Made the Transformation To Become No. 1

Article © 2000 - 2035 Craig Townsend / Its Mind over Matter. All Rights Reserved.


Novak Djokovic had been sitting comfortably ranked number 3 behind Nadal and Federer for many years - until 2011, when he suddenly transformed into an unbeatable machine, and rose to his true destiny.

So what was the turning point - and is it something we can inject into our own game?

There was one major turning point that brought about the transformation - a massive mental change to his on-court approach.

The pivotal turning point was a massive injection of new belief in his capabilities he received by helping win Serbia's first-ever Davis Cup, at the end of 2010.

This was the major 'springboard', the catalyst - the impetus that propelled him into 2011 with a massive level of new-found belief.

He finally knew without question that he could match it with anyone on the planet, on any day.

And this belief turned into results - one win after another, after another - going on to win 43 consecutive matches, which was almost considered unthinkable in this era - and coveting 4 of the next 5 majors.

Of course, there were some physical improvements as well - Djokovic changed his diet to gluten-free which gave him greater levels of energy on court, plus he improved the action on his serve to gain more free points.

But the main aspect that brought about Novak Djokovic's sudden ascendancy to no.1 was mental, not physical.

clay court tennis    

Instead of walking on court thinking like "number 3", he walked out there truly knowing he was the absolute best... and he was. And the rest was history, as they say.

But how could belief make such a difference to his game, or ours?

Belief is the cement that makes everything come together for us on court.

It's the difference between having the confidence to hit the line with a winner while break-point down, instead of playing it safe and losing the game.

It's the mental energy that sustains you through a service game that lasts fifteen minutes long, or coming back from behind, or from a set or match point down, to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Belief helps us win matches we should not win. It is the ultimate weapon on court, that makes anything special happen.

Belief makes us the best player we can possibly be, on any given day.

But very few people people actually believe in themselves, so it's a fairly rare commodity - which means that it can give you a massive edge over your opponents.

Sure, we can battle on without it - but it's very difficult to beat any opponent who has it - because they will simply never, ever give up.

But why did it take a Davis Cup win, to bring about Djokovic's sudden transformation in belief?

Because - most of the time - humans refuse to believe anything until they are given solid proof - and after battling all-time greats Federer and Nadal for years - suddenly winning the Davis Cup was finally all the 'proof' Novak needed.

But the truth is - you can make quantum leaps in your own game right now, simply by walking out on court knowing you are good enough to win the match easily.

And just keep repeating this mental attitude until it eventually becomes an automatic, natural part of your on-court game. "Repetition is the mother of learning", as they say.

Yes, it really is that simple - but it's not easy.

The good news is that most players you will encounter do not truly believe in themselves (and we are not talking about 'external' confidence and bravado here - but true inner belief), and any player that does - like Djokovic, Federer, Nadal, etc - is usually very, very tough to beat.

Make sure that player is YOU.


"The Mind controls the body, and the Mind is Unlimited"

The best of success, Craig Townsend

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“Tennis is a mental game. Everyone is fit, everyone hits great forehands and backhands.”   
Novak Djokovic   


"I remember as a kid, I was improvising and making little trophies out of different materials and going in front of the mirror, lifting the trophies and saying 'Nole was the champion!'
Novak Djokovic