I don’t play tennis. That said, I’m a huge fan of Novak Djokovic.
On Sunday, when he played that marathon match at Wimbledon, he just shut out the noise. The noise I’m referring to was the crowd wanting Roger Federer to win. It was clear. It was obvious. Djokovic heard them. How could he not? He flipped the switch though. He said, “When the crowd is chanting Roger, I hear Novak. It sounds silly, but it is like that. I try to convince myself that it’s like that.” As crazy as that sounds, it worked.
It’s also inspiring. When you try to do something no one wants you to do, you just have to shut out the noise. Novak Djokovic has shut out a lot of noise along the way. As a child growing up in Serbia, he heard bombs. He had to shut that noise out and play tennis. When he became a pro and his tennis game started to suffer, he went back to the drawing board. Had to fix everything. Even his diet. Adopted a gluten free lifestyle. Turned it around. In a way, shut out the noise again.
After Sunday, Novak Djokovic will be widely regarded as the best. Don’t tell Roger Federer fans. They may yell, “No, it’s Roger.” Novak Djokovic will hear something else. You hear what you need to hear.