Eye of the Coach #87: “Novak Djokovic was under too much pressure at the Australian Open”

Even after 24 Grand Slams, Novak Djokovic still feels the pressure during big moments.

January 27, 2024

Novak Djokovic felt under pressure at the 2024 Australian Open, says Patrick Mouratoglou in the latest episode of Eye of the Coach.

The 24-time Grand Slam champion hinted at it himself after he beat Adrian Mannarino – saying that he felt an expectation on his shoulders when he was up 6-0, 6-0, 1-0, and conceded a game to allow his French opponent on the board.

“He didn’t do it on purpose, but he felt the pressure was too big,” says the coach.

And after an unbeaten run in Melbourne stretching back over 2,000 days, Djokovic turned in a poor display by his exacting standards in the semi-final against Jannik Sinner.

“He never lost a semi-final at the Australian Open. He won 10 titles here. And in a way, it brought so much pressure,” adds Mouratoglou.

“Imagine he would win again. That would be crazy!”

Mouratoglou points out the issues with Djokovic’s display against Sinner – including his attitude – which culminated in what he describes as a “shock” of a performance.

“Even his attitude that is always so angry, even when he is winning, when there are pressure moments, he gets angry, he shouts at his box. He was flat – completely flat – against Sinner.”

Key moments

0.13 – When Djokovic played Mannarino, he said afterwards that being up 6-0, 6-0, 1-0 was a pressure of its own.
0.30 – Djokovic’s impressive record at the Australian Open created a pressure of its own.
0.46 – Djokovic didn’t concede games on purpose, but he may have done it sub-consciously. “The fact that he said that against Mannarino makes me think there is something there,” suggests Mouratoglou.
1.09 – Djokovic’s semi-final against Sinner was one of his worst matches ever.
1.17 – He was slow, with no energy or enthusiasm.
1.29 – Even his attitude was flat against Sinner. The fact that Sinner did not have to defend a single break point says it all.
1.37 – It was shocking to see Djokovic unable to play to his standards, in what has become his home Slam.

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