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Mamba mentality: The exact words Djokovic told himself in the mirror

A mid-match break and pep talk made the difference for the defending Wimbledon champion

Novak Djokovic, Wimbledon 2022 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic during his quarter final match against Italy’s Jannik Sinner, Wimbledon 2022 || © AI / Reuters / Panoramic

For the seventh time in his career, and third time at Wimbledon, Novak Djokovic came back from two sets to love down to win the match: this time against Jannik Sinner in the quarter-finals, 5-7, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.

As Djokovic himself pointed out, the key was the start of the third set. Before that, he took a bathroom break, just like he did in the French Open 2021 against Stefanos Tsitsipas when he was in an 0-2 hole – and he revealed he had a chat with himself while looking in the mirror.

Djokovic Wimbledon 2022
Serbia’s Novak Djokovic reacts during his quarter final match against Italy’s Jannik Sinner || AI / Reuters / Panoramic

“It was just a pep talk, positive talk,” Djokovic commented in the English part of the press conference.. “As negative and down you feel on yourself in those moments, even though as fake as it looks or sounds to you, it really gives you an effect and support if you are trying to find the right and positive affirmations and tell it to yourself and kind of reanimate yourself in a way.

“So that’s what I have done. I’ve done that after I lost two sets in the finals of Roland Garros against Tsitsipas, and today it worked. It doesn’t always work. It’s not a guarantee it will always work.”

You can do it. Believe in yourself. Now is the time, forget everything that has happened. New match starts now. Let’s go, champ

Novak Djokovic to Djokovic Novak

Yes, but what exactly did Novak say to himself looking at the mirror? Afterwards, Djokovic spoke to Sport Klub, and he was more comfortable repeating the phrases in Serbian.

“Yes, it was difficult for me to reproduce it in English, as I was speaking to myself in Serbian, of course,” Djokovic laughed, took a breath, looked directly at the camera and said, “Here we go.

“You can do it. Believe in yourself. Now is the time, forget everything that has happened. New match starts now. Let’s go, champ.”

Djokovic : “Fake it till you make it!”

Djokovic went on to say that he was inspired by the late basketball superstar Kobe Bryant and emphasized the thing all sports have in common.

“There is not a lot of time at that point…I have always loved and respected Kobe Bryant a lot, him and his famous mamba mentality. He often spoke about these things – one thing that all sports have in common is that moment in which you have to convince yourself that you can and that you must do better; to stay positive and to dig yourself out of a hole,” Djokovic said before adding:

“That is probably even more important in individual sports. There is a saying in English that goes ‘fake it till you make it’. When I looked at myself in the mirror saying those things, it did seem unnatural, but I knew that those words have their own strength, vibration and that it can pay off.

“The fact that I was in a similar situation before gave me even more belief in what I was doing. It is not a guarantee, of course, but your chances are better.”

For a spot in his eighth Wimbledon final, Djokovic will face Cameron Norrie on Friday.

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