Djokovic Narrowly Escaped Humiliation From World Number 110

By Ikenga Chronicles October 15, 2016

Djokovic Narrowly Escaped Humiliation From World Number 110

Top-ranked Novak Djokovic hummed on the byline to keep himself calm as he was almost humiliated by 110th-ranked Mischa Zverev to reach the Shanghai Masters semi-finals yesterday.

The defending champion, who has been struggling with form due to injuries, lost the first set and was then taken to a second-set tie-break as tensions rose at the Qi Zhong Tennis Centre.

But qualifier Zverev’s composure cracked as the 12- time Grand Slam-winner reeled off the first four points of the tie-break and raced through the deciding set to win 3-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-3.

As Zverev became increasingly dispirited, Djokovic was a picture of calm as he hummed to himself during the deciding set to keep his mind off his mistakes.

“Instead of the occasional tantrum that I used to have, I hope it’s behind me, so I would switch that vibration and transform it into a tune,” said the world number one.

“I’m trying to remember, which one was it? It wasn’t any mantra. It was a famous song, actually. I was using it to just forget about my mistake, previous mistake. And it worked, I hope,” he smiled.

Djokovic’s unusual tactic helped him avoid what would have been the most humiliating defeat of his season and maintained his record of reaching the semi-finals in all seven visits to the tournament.

It has been a troubled few months for the Serb, who said he had lost motivation and complained of “private issues” as he suffered shock early defeats at Wimbledon and the Olympics.

He now insists he no longer cares about titles or rankings points and is concentrating only on maintaining an “optimal state of mind”, a process he compared to boiling pasta.

“(It’s) like when you’re trying to prepare pasta and then when it’s boiling water, you just switch it down, you know, turn down the heat a little bit,” he said.

“That’s what you’re trying to do but still keep the heat there, keep that focus, keep that momentum and trying to be in the zone and have that right intensity but just the right amount.”

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