First there was Roger Federer, then Rafa Nadal. Tennis was lucky to get one such player. To get two at the same time seemed utterly impossible.
They won every tournament, broke every record. Their count of Grand Slam singles titles stands at 17 for Federer (the men’s record) and 14 for Nadal, equal-second with Pete Sampras. This includes an astonishing nine on the clay in Paris. Federer is a player of mesmerising and destructive brilliance; Nadal has the best topspin ever struck.
And yet, just when it seemed that only injury or retirement could end this historic duopoly, Novak Djokovic defied all expectation – and belief – to break through and establish himself as better than either. This young man from the tennis hinterland of Serbia took them both on at their peak, and went past them. Their dominance diminished not before his ascendancy, but because of it.
Serbia took them both on at their peak, and went past them. Their dominance diminished not before his ascendancy, but because of it. Djokovic has won 65 singles titles, including 12 Grand Slams, pocketing well over $100 million in prize money alone in the process. And one of the reasons he has made it to the top – and stayed there – is because he is arguably the fittest player ever to walk onto court.
Djokovic is so remarkably athletic that good judges are often blinded. They see only the product of the gym: the discreetly muscled physique, the full-splits flexibility, the combination of staying power and brief recovery time. But he’s not the best just because he is the fittest.
That’s only part of the reason. He’s the best because he has allied physical preparation on and off the court with mental tenacity and technical ability, to a level never previously seen in tennis. Or perhaps – and here’s the thing – any other sport.
Carve Out a Mental Edge
The modern tennis player is the complete athlete. Strength, power, speed, endurance, flexibility – to get to the top, and stay there, he needs it all. In track and field, you can specialise in the explosive events, or in endurance. A top tennis player needs to be able to run the 10,000 metres, while taking occasional breaks to run a 100m sprint or do a bit of shot-putting. He needs the stamina to last for five sets, but he must also have explosive power: to make a long chase and unload into a kill-shot. He must be precise and skilful when close to exhaustion. And that – more than anything else – describes the way that Djokovic wins matches against the finest opposition that tennis has ever thrown up.
“We have fitter, faster, stronger and better athletes, and that’s inevitable with increased professionalism,” says Dr Mark Williams, professor of clinical psychology at Oxford University. He suggests that all sports have changed dramatically in levels of fitness, strength and quickness, but what sets apart tennis players – and Djokovic in particular – is not just great physical fitness, but psychological superiority.
“Everyone at the top levels of sport is fit,” says Williams. “Without fitness you’re no good, don’t even start. But it’s not enough on its own. Tennis is also about higher-level cognitive thinking. You must know what your opponent will do: pick up his body shape and his movement, know what shots to expect from what areas of the court. It’s a matter of mental preparation over an extended timescale, and that’s a process based on, say, 20 hours of practice a week, totalling 1000 hours every year. That’s the way you create technical and tactical ability, and it’s essential.”
In last year’s Australian Open final, it seemed that Andy Murray had got on top of the match as he levelled at a set-all – but Djokovic found another gear to take the next set 6-3 and then yet another to take the fourth to love. Raise, then raise again. You’re not supposed to be able to do things like that, not at this level of sport. People who watched tended to misunderstand. They thought Murray had thrown in the towel. Not a bit. Djokovic got stronger. When tiredness should have cut in, he found his A-game and played better.
Simone Biles and Boyfriend Jonathan Owens Wear Matching Outfit Colors for Date Night
Simone Biles and NFL boyfriend Jonathan Owens have been the internet craze since they made their relationship public. The two met during the pandemic, and have been inseparable ever since.
The two spent the entire holiday season together, and often take to social media to share glimpses with fans who can’t help but adore them. Recently, they left fans drooling with pictures from their date night.
Simone Biles and Jonathan Owens twin in blue for a dinner date
Simone Biles met Jonathan Owens during the pandemic in 2020. Because of the lockdown soon after they met, the two were able to spend a lot of time together.
With a shared love for bulldogs, the two soon started going out and in August 2020, the lovebirds made their relationship official. Biles clearly is head over heels for Owens. Meanwhile, Owens himself has all the love and admiration for her.
The two spend the entire holiday season together, from Thanksgiving to New Years. They clearly love spending time with each other and can’t bear to stay apart.
On Sunday, the couple was out for a dinner date, wearing matching outfits. The duo looked stunning as they twinned in blue and black.
They took to their social media to post pictures of their date night.
“Just trying to match yo fly,” posted Owens.
While Biles wore a beautiful blue crop top with black leather pants, Owens decided to match her wearing a black t-shirt with a blue imprint and finishing it off with black pants.
Owens admired Biles’ personality
Jonathan Owens has earlier also revealed that he really admired Biles’ personality. Biles is a happy-go-lucky person, even though she has gone through insurmountable odds.
“She’s always happy, giggly, bubbly. If I’ve had a tough day at the office, I wouldn’t want to take that home to her. Her personality, man….,” said Owens.
Owens really admired Biles’ energy and loves to spend time with his girlfriend.
Simone Biles and Jonathan Owens first went public with their relationship in August 2020
The two of them are extremely supportive of each other and encourage each other. Biles is often spotted cheering on Owens during his matches. Meanwhile, Owens also doesn’t fail to reciprocate the same.
Owens was also standing tall with Biles while she went through her struggles, backing up her decision to step down from Tokyo 2020. He really is her pillar of strength.
Revealed: The Insane Amount of Earnings That Have Propelled Lewis Hamilton’s Net Worth to $300 Million Mark
The thing about athletes like Lewis Hamilton that differentiates them from the rest is that they set such a high standard of results that anything below a win is termed as a disappointment. But in Hamilton’s case this year, everybody seemed to agree that he had one of the best seasons of his career.
And despite not being able to add his eighth and record-breaking championship to his mountain of achievements, the Mercedes driver added a lot of digits to his earnings.
In 2021, Lewis Hamilton earned a massive $70 million from Formula 1 in terms of salary and bonuses. And an additional $12 million from sponsorships.
This meant that the total earnings of $82 million made sure that for the first time in his career, Lewis Hamilton’s estimated net worth crossed over the mark of a quarter of a billion dollars.
Now with a net worth of $300 million, Hamilton is the eighth highest-paid athlete in the world.
Formula One F1 – Brazilian Grand Prix – Jose Carlos Pace Circuit, Sao Paulo, Brazil – November 12, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton celebrates after finishing first in qualifying Pool via REUTERS/Lars Baron
But in 2022, Lewis Hamilton might earn less compared to 2021.
How much will Lewis Hamilton earn in salary in 2022?
In 2021, Lewis Hamilton agreed to a two-year contract extension. This saw him earn a salary of $55 million (excluding bonuses) as reported by Forbes. But in his final year of the contract, the one he is currently on, it is reported that Hamilton’s salary will take a dip.
According to a report, the Mercedes driver will earn $40 million in salary in 2022.
It’s also worth pointing out that the 2021 champion Max Verstappen retains his $25 million paycheck.
The reason for the pay cut in salary of the seven-time world champion could be the fact that he is edging towards the end of his career. But also because of the cost cap that F1 introduced in 2021.
Yet it’s not as if Lewis Hamilton doesn’t have an income flow from outside the sport.
He is undeniably one of the biggest names in the global sports landscape, and his magnanimous achievements have already made sure that he’ll remain an incredibly marketable name for years to come.
Serena Williams’ Daughter Olympia Shows Off Impressive Tennis Backhand Swing: ‘Practice Makes Better’
Serena Williams’ daughter, Olympia Ohanian, showcased her talents on the tennis court in a video posted to her Instagram on Monday
Olympia Ohanian is following in mom Serena Williams’ famous footsteps.
The 4-year-old tiny tot showed off her seriously impressive tennis skills in a new video posted to her Instagram account on Monday, showcasing a swing that rivals tennis players of all age groups.
“Practice makes better,” reads a simple caption accompanying the video, in which Olympia can be seen sporting a black-and-white workout getup while she effortlessly practices her backhand on the court.
“It’s Oracene [Price] all over again!” Williams’ sister, Venus, commented, referring to their mom, who also served as their tennis coach when they were younger.
Olympia’s tennis skills shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, considering Serena, 40, is one of the most decorated tennis players in the history of the sport, and the mommy-daughter duo spend a considerable amount of time practicing together.
“Honestly, we started because it’s a socially safe sport, and when COVID happened, it was like, we’re just in the house with a 3-year-old, what do we do?” the 23-time Grand Slam winner told PEOPLE of how Olympia got involved with the sport, adding, “There was only one answer, to my dismay.”
Serena shares Olympia with husband and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, whom she wed in a star-studded event at the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans in November 2017.
And although Olympia clearly takes her tennis training seriously on and off the court — Serena recently showed fans her daughter’s personal gym equipment in a series of Instagram Stories earlier in January — Olympia also has an ear for music, as evidenced by her incredible piano playing.
“She likes tennis, but I don’t know. Honestly, she likes playing piano,” the fashion designer told Jimmy Kimmel during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! last November. “When she was in my belly, I played a lot of piano music.”
“And she’s teaching me! Like, I’m not even kidding,” the tennis pro replied when Kimmel asked if Olympia was taking piano lessons. “I have a baby Mozart, [but] of course every parent thinks they have like, a baby Beethoven or whatever.”