After a cool hour of discussion on Instagram live, as Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic reminisced on their rapport of 22 years, the most revelatory moment came right at the end and in the form of a seemingly mundane question delivered by a fan: What are the first three things you do after you wake up?
Djokovic spoke slowly and deliberately in response: “Gratitude and prayer, a couple of long, deep breaths, hugging my wife and running to my children.” Murray nodded limply, he successfully kept a straight face and at some point he even awkwardly uttered: “Nice!” Then he gave his own answer: “For me, too much information, but I go for a pee.”
The nature of Djokovic’s job means that he speaks about himself after every single match, but normally he focuses his monologues on the tennis. It is easy to forget about how different his world view is to the rivals who surround him.
According to Djokovic, his career was defined by the day a doctor placed a slice of white bread on his stomach. A subsequent resistance exercise indicated he had a coeliac allergy, which led to him relinquishing gluten from his diet and conquering the world. He calls telekinesis and telepathy “gifts from this higher order, the source, the god, whatever, that allows us to understand the higher power and higher order in ourselves”. He once hired a coach, Pepe Imaz, who probably taught him about telepathy and levitation, and whose techniques include extremely long hugs.
Evidently, Djokovic’s outlook has worked for him. He is the world No 1 on a 21-match winning run who is in pursuit of Rafael Nadal (19) and Roger Federer (20) in terms of grand slam titles, with 17. He will probably get there. His spirituality should be personal as long as it is not harmful.