In today’s world, there are many sport figures one can look up to. We have chosen the best of the best in the tennis world, Novak Djokovic. Djokovic is a Serbian professional tennis player who is currently ranked world number 1 by the Association of Tennis Professionals.
Despite being the underdog during his early years as a professional tennis player, he is now the best professional tennis player overtaking the previous king of tennis Rafael Nadal. Ever since the age of four, he has been interested in tennis. Unlike most children his age, it was not a fleeting interest. He was determined to achieve his dream of becoming the best tennis player in the world. With his steadfast dream, he has won six Grand Slam titles and has brought him to where he is now.
This report will cover Djokovic’s personality, values and attitude, motivation and leadership skills that had helped him to achieve his dream. The points highlighted are also the main reason he is worth following as an influential leader.
The big five model of personality consists of extraversion, neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness and openness to experience. Djokovic can be seen as a person that is highly extrovert as he is fun-loving, expressive and sociable.
During his comeback as the winner in the Australian Open, he was so overjoyed that he threw his racket, wristbands and his shirt to his fans (AOL News, 2011). Djokovic is also socially attached to his fans that he created an application known as ‘Nole4You’ that focuses on a direct coverage of Djokovic’s real time games (New & Newsworthy, 2012a).
On the other hand, Djokovic is low on the neurotism category as he is much balanced and emotionally stable. According to Suttles (2013), Djokovic was “gracious in defeat” as every defeat he channels it back into better concentration for the next match. Next, Djokovic is rather high on the agreeableness meter as he shows a great deal of care towards others through his charities.
Djokovic created the Novak Djokovic Foundation which supports young children from disadvantaged communities especially in native Serbia (New & Newsworthy, 2012b). Besides that, he was also elected as the ambassador of The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Serbia as he was utterly concern in the welfare of the people in his hometown as well as the importance in early childhood education in Native Serbia (Look To The Stars, 2011).
He was also keen in participating in fights for the betterment of society such as the fight against acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) which required him to use the Head Red special edition bag collection from Head to the French Open Grand Slam (Look To The Stars, 2013a). Djokovic is also high in conscientiousness as he is responsible for his career and he is well organized after his achievement in the Australian Open. Although being reckless in his previous season, he is where he is now due to his hard work in perfecting his service techniques and getting his diet right (Carter, 2011).
According to Djokovic in an interview, he wants to be consistent in his games and to do this, he has to stay fit and take care of his health and physical condition (The National, 2011). Lastly, Djokovic is very open to new experience. One afternoon in year 2010, Djokovic received a phone call from Dr. Igor Cetojevic who said that his fatigue in the 2010 Aussie Open was due to his diet that consists of glutens that caused an accumulation of toxins in his large intestines. Djokovic listened to his advice to practice a gluten-free diet as well as to build him up spiritually.
Besides that, Djokovic also took risk to change his serve technique as advised by Marian Vajda. As a result of Djokovic’s openness, he no longer suffers from fatigues and he felt much happier and balanced. In addition, a change in his serve technique enabled him to defeat the former world number one five times consecutively and brought him to the top of the tennis world (Saslow, 2012).
3.0 Values and Attitude
As a well-known figure in the world of tennis, Djokovic has certain values that enable him to enjoy the success that he has today. According to George and Jones (2012, p.93), values are defined as personal convictions about what one should strive for in life and how one should behave. Values are further divided into two categories; work values and ethical values. In terms of work values, there are intrinsic and extrinsic work values.
In definition, intrinsic work values are values that are related to the nature of the work itself. Some examples of intrinsic work values that are prominent in Djokovic’s work are the ability to make important contributions to the public, the interesting work and the challenging work that can be done. Firstly, in terms of the ability to make important contributions to the public, Djokovic is well known for his philanthropic work.
Due to this status as the highest ranked tennis player, he is very well-connected and is able to influence his fans over his beliefs. From this, he has helped to raise awareness for AIDS, human trafficking, poverty, human rights, women’s rights, children’s rights and many more (Look To The Stars, 2013b). Aside from that, his ability to make important contributions to the public and society is further supported by his status as the ambassador of UNICEF in Serbia.
Aside from him advertising his beliefs on social media such as Facebook, Twitter and his video blog, UNICEF has also advertised their cause through Djokovic because of his popularity among the younger generation (UNICEF, 2011). Although generating a high pay from his career, he did not choose this career lifestyle because of it. He started playing tennis at the age of four and played professionally when he was 16 years old. This is due to his passion and interest in tennis.
He has trained and played in every single tennis tournament to gain the experience he needed. Even though he has been injured quite a number of times in terms of ankle and knee injuries, that has never stopped him from pursuing his dream of being the best tennis player (Mitchell, 2013). However challenging his work may be, Djokovic never gave up. He continuously pursues his dream of being the best. After relentless practice and competitions, he finally replaced Roger Federer as the top ranked tennis player in the world.
This attitude of his is admirable and serves as a constant reminder to his fans that nothing is impossible. On the other hand, extrinsic values are values that are related to the consequences of work. One of the more prominent extrinsic values is the high salary. Not only does he get paid for playing tennis, he gets paid through his endorsements deals with well-known companies such as UNIQLO, Fitline and Telekom Srbjia (Badenhausen, 2011). His salary also includes appearance fees, exhibitions and prize money. Besides that, his career as a tennis player provides him with many job benefits. One of the many is fame.
Unlike most athletes, Djokovic enjoys being in the limelight and often shares news and funny anecdotes of his life with his fans. Next, his job provides very flexible working hours. He practices his tennis with his coaches at any time he wants. Due to his flexible working hours, he gets to spend more time with his family and to indulge in vacations as well as hobbies. According to George and Jones (2012, p.97), work attitude is defined as the collection of feelings, beliefs and thoughts about how to behave in one’s job and organisation.
Although similar to values, work attitudes are more specific and are not as constant as values as work attitudes change over time. In 2008, although he was winning tournaments, Djokovic hired a new fitness coach in hopes that it will help boost his performance. After the change, he was able to defeat the two reigning champions in the tennis world, namely, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. His attitude changed once a new factor was introduced into his life (ESPN, 2010).
4.0 Motivational Theories
Everyone in the world possesses a particular set of skills that they are good at in their lives. People who managed to realize their potential often harness that skill and sharpen it to become a much better person. During those times, motivation towards that ability drives them to keep pushing forward in harnessing those skills. Many professional sportsmen and sportswomen started training during childhood. Motivation is what has kept them and pushed them into training harder every day until they finally achieve their goal.
According to George and Jones (2012, p. 183), there are three elements of work motivation; direction of behavior, level of effort and level of persistence. Novak Djokovic, world’s best tennis player, possessed all these three elements. For example, although his family had economic problems in Serbia, he still chose to fly to Germany to train despite only being 12 years old.
Even as a child, he loved tennis with a passion. He once skipped afternoon classes in school just so he could attend tennis training with his coach (PRPepper Production, 2012). His passion, effort and persistence during training are boundless. His motivation was driven because he loved tennis rather than his parents forcing the sport on him. 4.1 Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
Djokovic’s efforts and achievements relate a lot to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs consists of five different types of needs from the lowest to the highest; physiological, safety, belongingness, esteems and self-actualization needs (George and Jones, 2012, p. 187).
The two needs most emphasized by Djokovic are the esteem needs and self-actualization needs. Right from the beginning, Djokovic was always focused and determined to be the best in the tennis world, which directly means beating the best players in the world such as Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Tommy Haas and Rafael Nadal. Esteem needs emphasizes on an individual being recognized and respected by others (George and Jones, 2012, p.187).
Djokovic strived hard during his early years under the guidance of Nikola Pilic. At the age of 16, he was awarded the champion of “La Boule”. This event leads to the start of his professional career (PRPepper Prodcutions, 2012). However, he did not stop that as he was motivated aim higher. This further explains Maslow’s self-actualization need theory, which is defined as “needs to realize one’s full potential as a human being”. Djokovic trained hard every day motivated by one goal; to be the best tennis player in the world.
Due to him having a high self-actualisation, Djokovic obtained the title of being the best tennis player in the ATP rankings in 2012 after obtaining a 43% winning rate in 2011. Today, Djokovic is further motivated by his lost to Rafeal Nadal in the 2013 French Open. Instead of giving up, Djokovic evaluates his loss as a sense of motivation to train harder in order to win the next tournament, Wimbledon (Gajaria, 2013).