Novak Djokovic has always been an acquired taste in the tennis world, yet the 24-time grand slam champion has left many baffled while opening up on his “special relationship”.
Djokovic has grown close to a tree, in Melbourne’s Botanical Gardens to be precise, spending time by its side and taking inspiration over the years while competing at the Australian Open.
Away from passing his latest test on the court, overcoming a scare to rally past home favourite Alexei Popyrin on Rod Laver Arena, Djokovic opened up on his special place and peculiar pastime.
“There’s one particular tree that I’ve been having [a] special relationship with, so to say, in the last 15 years,” Djokovic said.
“I love every corner of [the] botanical gardens. I think it’s [an] incredible treasure for Melbourne to have such a park and nature in the middle of the city.
“I got connected with that tree. I just liked it. I liked its roots and the trunks and branches and everything. So I started climbing it years ago. That’s it. I just have a connection.”
The Age newspaper reported Djokovic attended his favourite tree after eating pumpkin soup, helping him to meditate and feel grounded.
“That particular tree, I cannot reveal which one, I’ll try to keep it discreet for myself when I’m there to have my own time. I like to ground myself and connect with that old friend,” Djokovic said, hiding the tree’s location to protect its privacy.
Djokovic has spoken in the past about how he enjoys “connecting” with the tree and added in 2016: “This tree has been here a long time, much longer than any one of us.
“Imagine how much energy and wisdom it has! So grateful that I can spend time in the nature. That’s what the day off looks like.”