Novak Djokovic, the No 1 men’s tennis player in the world, is renowned for his work ethic. He has dominated the sport for long periods thanks to his sustained dedication and discipline. However, the 32-year-old revealed on Tuesday that there was one match in his career where he wasn’t at his optimum level and was, in fact, hungover.
Talking to the recently-retired five-time Grand Slam winner Maria Sharapova in an Instagram live session on Tuesday, Djokovic said that he doesn’t consume alcohol regularly, prefers red wine, but is embarrassed of a match that he played in 2011 where he wasn’t exactly sober on the court.
Asked if he had ever been hungover while playing a professional tennis match, the Serb replied: “I once had a crazy night during the Davis Cup weekend. I have been hungover watching other guys play, knowing that there is no chance for me to play.
“I did play one doubles match hungover, it was in the Davis Cup against Sweden. We were two love up, Robin Soderling and the top guys didn’t play for Sweden and I came back off the Wimbledon victory. It was my first Wimbledon win, I became the world No 1, it was 2011, it was as if all my dreams had come true. And I travelled like literally the next day from London to Sweden to take part in the quarter-finals of the Davis Cup and I was in the team. I was saying that I don’t want to be part of any official matches but I don’t know how I ended up playing the doubles match. I wasn’t seeing the ball very clearly, let’s keep it to that [laughs].”
In the match that Djokovic spoke about, he partnered with Nenad Zemonjic and lost to the unheralded pair of Simon Aspelin and Robert Lindstedt. Serbia, though, still managed to defeat Sweden in the tie but went on to lose to Argentina in the semi-finals.