Novak Djokovic reveals truth behind 'annoying' superstition

·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
Novak Djokovic (pictured) smiling after a point at the French Open First Round.
Novak Djokovic (pictured) has revealed the superstition behind his famous ball-bouncing routine during his serve. (Getty Images)

Novak Djokovic advanced to the Second Round at the French Open in impressive form and he opened up on one of his superstitions that has been a talking point throughout his career.

The World No.1 started his French Open campaign with his first ever night match on Phillipe Chatrier with no spectators due to a 9pm local curfew, but the Serbian champ went through the gears as he dispatched his opponent to improve to 17-0 in first-round matches at the event.

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Djokovic showed some signs of frustration against controversial American Tennys Sandgren, but breezed through the third set in impressive fashion.

But after the game, Djokovic opened up about his famous service rhythm after being asked about his bounce process in the silent stadium.

Djokovic has always faced questions during his illustrious career over the number of times he bounces the ball before a serve.

The World No.1 notoriously takes his time and bounces the ball more often when the pressure mounts.

This has caught the ire of opponents and tennis fans throughout his career.

With the introduction of the service clock, which has seen players like Rafael Nadal and Djokovic speed up their service game, Djokovic has adapted.

This prompted tennis great, turned Eurosport analyst, Mats Wilander to question Djokovic about his decision-making when it comes to how many times he bounces the ball.

"I don't decide how many times I'm going to bounce the ball," Djokovic said to Wilander.

"I know it's annoying for a lot of people and sometimes it's annoying for me - I wish I could bounce it less and just get into the rhythm but sometimes, especially if it's a tough moment and I'm a little bit tight and under pressure, I might bounce it a bit more."

"But I just kind of wait until the right time to toss the ball and to have the right tempo in the movement from the very first step, the swing. I don't know what else to tell you, there is no particular number."

Novak Djokovic (pictured) prepares to serve the ball during an Australian Open match.
Novak Djokovic (pictured) prepares to serve the ball during the Men's Singles Final of the 2021 Australian Open. (Photo by Jason Heidrich/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Djokovic had a laugh at an old superstition where he would count his bounces depending on what side of court he was serving on.

"Ten-plus years ago on the deuce side I would always end my bounces with an even number and advantage uneven. It is not the case any more - I have a little bit of an issue!" Djokovic said.

Djokovic missed fans at French Open

Djokovic said while he appreciated the night match at the French Open he would have preferred to play in front of fans.

"I'm honoured to be the first men's match to play a Roland Garros night session," he said in his court-side interview.

"It was very interesting to say the least, I liked the conditions and the way I played, the way I moved, the way I felt, it worked out pretty well.

Novak Djokovic (pictured) hits a forehand during the French Open.
Novak Djokovic (pictured) returns the ball to Tennys Sandgren during their men's singles first round tennis match. (Photo by CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP via Getty Images)

"But it was awfully quiet, with crowds it would have been the perfect scenario, perfect setting, but hopefully this is the last match without a crowd for me in this tournament."

One night session per day is scheduled until June 9, but only the last of those is set to be played in front of fans with the French government pushing back the curfew until 11pm next Wednesday.

Djokovic next faces Uruguay's Pablo Cuevas on his way to a potential semi-final showdown with 13-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal, who opened his campaign on Tuesday with a 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (7-3) win over Australian Alexei Popyrin.

with AAP

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