i Editor's Letter: No self-doubt


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The Independent Online


How thrilling it must be to have no self-doubt. How wonderfully simple life would be if you always knew, just knew, you were on the right track. Not in that way a politician like George Osborne merely says it because he feels he can't say anything else, and then his eyes betray him, but in all sincerity. How many of us can truthfully claim that? Surely no one like me raised in a Catholic family where self-doubt is a way of life? Well, unless you're the Pope: being infallible must help.

Novak Djokovic, the world's top tennis player and one of its finest athletes, appears to be blessed with absolute certainty. He steps on to a tennis court with the look of a man who never believes he is going to lose. Which is not surprising. He is the world No 1 and, aged just 25, has just won his sixth Grand Slam title.

Djokovic appears never to believe he will lose the point, no matter how bad his position is during a rally. His outstanding ground strokes and extraordinary rubber-limbed retrieving ability are enough to frustrate any player, including the man with tennis' second-best retrieving game: Britain's excellent Andy Murray, whom he defeated in the Australian Open final yesterday.

That belief enables him to raise his game to an even higher level of excellence. It's scary. It's not just that he is arguably the fittest-looking of any of our top sportspeople, but like Federer, you see it in his eyes. There's a steely determination in them that must be terrifying for opponents. It is less arrogance than conviction.

This Serbian Orthodox man of deep religious belief consistently displays a wider faith: in his team, and in his skill and tenacity; both his mental and physical strength. He is also funny, generous and gracious, the best global ambassador for his sport and his country.

Novak Djokovic, what's not to like? Unless you are poor Andy Murray.