Novak Djokovic revealed on Monday that a self-administered pep talk in a toilet cubicle helped him push over the finish line of Sunday’s Wimbledon final – a showdown with Roger Federer that Martina Navratilova has described as one of the five best matches of all time.
Tactical bathroom breaks may be a sensitive area in tennis, but they are within the rules and Andy Murray has admitted that “I started talking to myself” in front of the toilet mirror at the identical stage of his own breakthrough victory over Djokovic, at Flushing Meadows, two years ago. “It’s like Andy in the US Open,” Djokovic said, “except that I wasn’t looking in the mirror. I was looking at the toilet seat.
“Nevertheless, it wasn’t about where I am but what I said to myself and went through in this moment. I needed some time to refocus and forget about what happened in the fourth set, forget about the missed opportunities and move on.”
“I had these positive words of encouragement to say to myself,” added Djokovic of those few moments that he had alone with his thoughts. “You go through different emotions during such an important match. There are times when you have doubts. Especially after the fourth set, there is disappointment which brings with it fear and doubt and all these different demons inside. When you start fighting them, that’s the biggest fight you can have.
“That’s what I experienced and I managed to have my convictions stronger than my doubts in this moment and managed to push myself the very last step to win the trophy.”