Novak Djokovic meditates to ‘lose fear and stress’

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic reacts during their men’s singles third round match against Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas on day six of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 20, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 21 January 2018
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Novak Djokovic meditates to ‘lose fear and stress’

MELBOURNE: Novak Djokovic says meditating has helped him overcome fear and stress that comes with playing elite tennis.
The 12-time Grand Slam champion, 30, says he often turned to the practice during his long spell out of the game last year with elbow trouble.
The Serb former world No.1 is playing in his first tournament since Wimbledon in July and he has a brand new support team, headed by eight-time Grand Slam champion Andre Agassi as coach.
Djokovic said after reaching the fourth round of the year’s opening Grand Slam on Saturday that he now meditates on a daily basis.
“Yes, I do. I’ll tell you what. I don’t want to tell you what I gain with it, but I’ll tell what I lose with it,” he said.
“I lose fear. I lose anxiety. I lose stress. I guess, in the end of the day, that’s what you’re looking for.”
Djokovic has become involved in meticulous off-the-court preparation in recent years. He has a strict, gluten-free diet and is an advocate for well-being.
The new year has given him the opportunity to analyze aspects of his game and preparation.
“When it comes to tennis, I obviously was excited to analyze my game,” he said.
“First of all, I wanted to get the right team of people around me, experts in their field, so they can contribute to the process and the journey of working on my body and my game.
“Improving different aspects that are there to be worked on. Thankfully there is always something to work on.”
Djokovic said apart from tennis he has always looked at ways to improve himself, which he terms his “philosophy of life.”
“It has always been, not just for tennis, but in general there’s always something that you can improve and get better at as a person and as a player,” he said.
“That’s probably the most exciting thing about life, is that every day is a new opportunity for you to get better.”
Djokovic faces South Korea’s “NextGen” star Chung Hyeon in Monday’s round of 16.


Saudi Arabia step up their World Cup preparations by flying to Switzerland for training camp

Updated 20 May 2018
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Saudi Arabia step up their World Cup preparations by flying to Switzerland for training camp

  • Squad of 28 to be based in Zurich
  • Friendlies on the horizon against Italy and Peru

Juan Antonio Pizzi has taken a 28-man squad to Zurich for the final stage of the Green Falcons’ World Cup preparations.
The party flew out of Jeddah late last night and landed in Switzerland early this morning. There they will be joined by Fahad Al-Muwallad and Salem Al-Dawsari who will fly in from Spain after playing for Levante and Villarreal on Saturday night.
The three-week training camp in the Swiss resort town of Bad Ragaz gives Pizzi the chance to get stuck into some intense tactical and physical work with his players and decide which five players to leave out of his squad. He must whittle down his list down to 23 by June 4, which gives the players get two final chances to stake their claim for a seat on the plane in friendlies against Italy on May 28 and Peru on June 3. By the time they play Germany in Leverkusen on June 8, Pizzi will have named his party for the assignment in Russia.
Pizzi is clearly much nearer knowing who he will take as he has only made minor changes to the squad he named for the recent wins against Greece and Algeria.
Al-Ittihad goalkeeper Assaf Al-Qarni replaces his club teammate Fawaz Al-Qarni as the fourth stopper in the squad, as Pizzi looks settled on retaining Al-Ahli duo Yasser Al-Mosaileem and Mohammed Al-Owais in addition to Al-Hilal’s Abdullah Al-Mayouf. One of those four will fail to make the cut as no team takes four goalkeepers to the World Cup.
There were no changes in the backline where the former Chile boss is opting for harmony. Eight of the nine defenders called up ply their trade at Al-Hilal or Al-Ahli, while Al-Nassr’s Omar Hawsawi rounds off the selection. One defender might have to make way and Al-Hilal teammates Mohammad Jahfali and Ali Al-Bulayhi could well find themselves vying for one spot on the plane to Moscow.
Abdullah Otayf and Taisir Al-Jassim look to be firm favorites to make the starting XI in the base of midfield, while the third central spot is up for grabs. Hussein Al-Moqahwi has regularly featured in that position, but Salman Al-Faraj’s return from a long injury saw him start both friendlies in the Spain training camp. Abdulmalik Al-Khaibari could emerge as the more conservative midfield enforcer against stronger sides.
The center of the pitch is where the most intense battle of positions will take place. As many as three midfielders could be left behind come June 4. Ibrahim Ghaleb has already been left out and he may be joined by Al-Shabab duo Hattan Bahebri and Abdulla Al-Khaibari. One of Mohammad Kanno and Mohammed Al Kuwaikbi could be the last man to be dropped in two weeks’ time.
Up front, Harun Kamara, a surprise call-up for the recent friendlies, failed to retain his spot in the squad so Mohannad Assiri and Mohammed Al-Sahlawi will battle it out for the sole striker position.

Squad
Goalkeepers: Mohammed Al-Owais, Yasser Al-Mosaileem (Al-Ahli); Abdullah Al-Mayouf (Al-Hilal); Assaf Al-Qarni (Al-Ittihad)
Defenders: Motaz Hawsawi, Saeed Al-Muwallad, Mansour Al-Harbi (Al-Ahli); Osama Hawsawi, Mohammed Jahfali, Ali Al-Bulayhi, Mohammed Al-Burayk, Yasser Al-Shahrani (Al-Hilal); Omar Hawsawi (Al-Nassr).
Midfielders: Abdullah Al-Khaibari, Hattan Bahebri (Al-Shabab); Abdulmalik Al-Khaibari, Abdulla Otayf, Salman Al-Faraj, Mohammed Kanno, Nawaf Al-Abid (Al-Hilal); Taisir Al-Jassim, Hussein Al-Moqahwi (Al-Ahli); Mohammed Al-Kuwaikbi (Al-Ettifaq); Salem Al-Dawsari (Villarreal); Fahad Al-Muwallad (Levante); Yahya Al-Shehri (Leganes)
Forwards: Mohammed Al-Sahlawi (Al-Nassr); Mohannad Assiri (Al-Ahli)