World No.4, Dominic Thiem has withdrawn from the ongoing Serbia Open due to his knee injury. Recently, the Austrian also openly spoke about his mental struggles due to the pandemic and how it is affecting his outlook towards the sport.
Speaking on the issue, World No.1, Novak Djokovic expressed his sympathy to his rival Thiem. In his press conference in Belgrade, the 18-time Major winner said,
“It’s definitely a big loss for our tournament to not have Dominic here, sorry to hear that he’s been dealing with a knee injury. The tennis world needs him because he’s a Grand Slam champion and one of the top players of the world, a big star. He’s also a nice guy, he has played in Adria Tour last year and he won the tournament in front of Belgrade people. He was excited to come back so it’s unfortunate he’s not here.”
“On the mental side of it, obviously I’ve heard that he is struggling with how he is feeling, he’s a bit exhausted with the restrictions in the bubble life on the tour. Well, I understand what he’s been going through because we all go through that.”
The Serb also pointed out that the current bio-bubble can drain lot of athletes emotionally, owing to which playing at the highest level can be tough.
Most tennis players on the tour suffer from mental issues due to the bio-bubble
“I think most of the players on the tour are experiencing some of the mental issues and motivational issues. Playing in front of empty stands, traveling and not being able to go out of their hotel room. Just being restricted to the tennis courts and the hotel.”
“If you do it for a week, it’s fine, we can take that. But if you keep doing that week in, week out then it’s a very challenging thing mentally and emotionally for anybody.”
Djokovic is the overwhelming favourite to win the title at Serbia Open and will take on Soonwoo Kwon or Roberto Baena on Wednesday.