In our essays on Spirituality in Life, we see an undercurrent, a constant theme: Living life with a conscious self-awareness; engagement in life with a larger perspective that includes others (and everything) as much as we can.
It is equally important to realize that life of Spirituality in Practice is not limited to those who study scriptures or live a religious way of life. Instead such manner of living is possible and may be natural for anyone with some self-reflection. In this essay we observe this perspective in the following excerpts from interviews with Professional Tennis players.
“Ten Deutsche marks was like 10 dollars, and my father said, ‘This is all we have,’” Djokovic said. Novak Djokovic recounted what his father said when Serbia as a nation was formed after a violent break up of Yugoslovia in the 1990s. “And he said that more than ever we have to stick together and go through this together and figure out the way. That was a very powerful and very impactful moment in my growth, my life, all of our lives.” https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/25/sports/novak-djokovic-australian-open.html
In his view, Novak said that he is no longer playing tennis to prove himself but to improve himself and the lives of those around him. “I am really grateful for the career I’ve had, but for me right now, tennis is more a platform than an obsession about individual achievement. I don’t see tennis anymore only as I’m going to go there, and I’m going to win the trophy, do everything possible to achieve that, and once that’s done it’s done, and that’s the only reason I’m playing,” he said. “I’ve finished with that kind of chapter in my life. I guess through the evolution of my life I came to the stage where it’s more than that.”
“If you see things from a larger perspective, it’s quite interestingly the same in terms of understanding what the next step in life is”.
Novak Djokovic, less beloved on a global scale than his rivals, has been harder to pin down. Perhaps this description should spring from that elusiveness. “He is a searcher: It seems that the things are perfect, but suddenly he wants to change in some way.”
That tonic or formula of success is like a holy grail for any athlete. How can I really optimize everything and be in a balanced state of mind, body and soul every season for the rest of my career and really be able to peak when I need to? “I think the No. 1 requirement is constant desire and open-mindedness to master and improve and evolve yourself in every aspect. Stagnation is regression” added Djokovic.
Novak Djokovic in the interview after winning the 2010 Australian Open Semi Finals at Melbourne:
“When you are young, you want everything right away. There is no waiting! But with age you learn to trust the process and gain patience. You cannot be a perfect human being or a top tennis player from very young age. That is why we enjoy this beautiful thing called life!”
To be spiritual also implies treating winning and losing equally and put in your best effort. It is the only way forward if you want to maintain your composure and make progress. This realism is confronted by many of us and in many occasions in life.
Consider for example: Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have now won 56 of the recent 64 Grand Slam events in the past fifteen years. “It’s unique in sports history that the three best players by far are playing in the same era,” Dominic Thiem said after his loss at the 2020 Australian Open. “That’s what makes it very, very difficult for other players to break through.”
There are many more of us in daily life like Dominic Thiem pushing hard to break through the glass ceiling to get to the top of the professional tennis world. It is required of us to treat winning and losing with equal regard and put in our best effort and yes, even when the winning happens or not.
Novak Djokovic in the interview after winning the 2020 Australian Open Finals and the championship at Melbourne:
Real understanding of life comes not when you win, but when you have time to reflect on it.