Men’s World No 1 Novak Djokovic revealed on Friday that he wanted to quit tennis after a shocking quarter-final defeat against Jurgen Melzer in the 2010 French Open.
The Serb, seeded third at the event and one of the promising young talents in the game at the time, inexplicably threw away a two-set lead against the Austrian Melzer to crash out of the tournament. Djokovic said he struggled to cope with the defeat and wanted to quit the game.
“Against Jurgen Melzer in Roland Garros, during the quarters, this defeat was really difficult for me emotionally,” he was quoted as saying by Sky Sports.
“I cried a lot after this defeat because I had a moment in my life, my career, when everything happened in a fusion in which I really did not see a reason to keep on playing, I wanted to quit tennis.”
The 17-time Grand Slam-winner bounced back strongly from the defeat and won three majors in 2011, the following year. That season went on to be a springboard for world domination for Djokovic.
“After that moment I felt I was freed,” he said. “The accumulation of this pressure was making me too tired to play, I wasn’t feeling the joy, I wasn’t feeling free to really play in a way, a type, a style of play which was aggressive.”
Djokovic won the Australian Open earlier this year, claiming a record eighth title and returning to world No 1 in the process. The indomitable Serb stretched his unbeaten streak this season to 13 by rallying from two sets to one down and beating the courageous fifth-seeded Austrian 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 in a near four-hour ordeal.