After he won the Australian Open in February, Novak Djokovic vowed to lighten his schedule this year and spend more time with his young family.
The World No.1 had just won his ninth Australian Open title and 18th career grand slam, but couldn’t help but feel gutted that he was on the other side of the world to his family.
“At times it rips my heart apart,” Djokovic told reporters after the final.
“I will have to revise my schedule comparing to the last year or any other season before this.
“Obviously time away from family definitely is something that has an impact on me.
“I’ll have to see with these rules and regulations and restrictions in place all over the world, Europe.
“Not being able to take my family on the road is something that is a big problem for me.”
Djokovic was true to his word, opting not to play a number of tournaments that he usually would.
He skipped the Madrid Open in the lead-up to the French Open, played in Mallorca instead of a traditional warm-up event for Wimbledon, and decided not to play at Indian Wells in the aftermath of the US Open.
All came as surprising decisions, but not when you consider his words about trying to spend more time with his family.
Djokovic’s family heartache culminated in beautiful scenes on Sunday when son Stefan and daughter Tara were both in attendance as he won the Paris Masters for a record sixth time.
It was the first time both of his children had watched him play live.