Novak Djokovic admits he contemplated leaving tennis before resurgence
Last Updated: 19/02/19 11:22am
Novak Djokovic says he contemplated leaving tennis as he struggled to find the "purpose" during his initial struggle to rediscover his best form on his return from injury last year.
The world No 1 returned from a six-month injury lay-off at last year's Australian Open but was knocked out in the fourth round by Hyeon Chung.
Despite undergoing surgery on his elbow after the tournament, he suffered subsequent shock defeats against Taro Daniel and Benoit Paire at Indian Wells and Miami respectively, before announcing his split with Andre Agassi.
Djokovic then reunited with former coach Marian Vaijda and has since returned to world No 1 and won three successive Grand Slam titles, with his record seventh Australian Open moving him ahead of Pete Sampras into third on the men's all-time list of Grand Slam titles with 15.
But the 31-year-old Serb, speaking after being named Laureus sportsman of the year on Monday, said: "I did think about leaving tennis.
"I did not find myself in a good balance. It took me several months to find that purpose and meaning again. This award reflects and symbolises this journey.
"Reflecting on the journey it seems like a fairytale story."
Elsewhere at the ceremony in the principality, Naomi Osaka won the Breakthrough award following her maiden Grand Slam victory at the US Open.