Novak Djokovic combines Buddhist Mindfulness and Tennis at Wimbledon

This Sunday, July 7th, will see Serbian Novak Djokovic go racket-to-racket with local star Andy Murray at the Wimbledon finals (games start at 2pm GMT / 9am EST).

It seems that when Djokovic isn’t on the court or otherwise being pretty all-around-awesome (see below), he spends at least some of his time meditating. When he was asked about his meditation practice at a Buddhist center in Wimbledon village, he responded:

“It’s very calm and quiet, obviously. I stay in a house which is very nearby. This is a place which we all visit. We like Wimbledon and London in general because there’s so many beautiful parks and nature, places which you can call getaways, where during these two weeks of a hectic Grand Slam atmosphere that goes around, so many people, obviously there is huge amount of pressure and stress and everything involved, so you need to have a place where you know you can switch off and recharge your batteries.”

The temple, which is open to everyone, is a beautiful Thai complex called Buddhapadipa.

The Telegraph reports:

Sutheera Pflughaupt’s face lights up when Novak Djokovic’s name is mentioned. She is a kitchen volunteer in the Buddhist centre the world No. 1 visits to meditate and “recharge” between matches at Wimbledon, and over the years they have grown close.

“He stays in the house next door every year, for many years,” she says of the Serb. “I have a photo with him every time. Tomorrow I have tickets for the Centre Court, maybe I will see him play.”

The story continues with an interview with Lynne Parry, a volunteer at the Temple, saying of the practice: It’s all about the moment, focusing on the now, not the past or the future. And it’s about people – the Buddha wasn’t a god, he’s a man.” 

In good fun, the article ends with a swipe at the Swiss great, Roger Federer: “She also offered a clue as to why Roger Federer has yet to follow his rival in his quest for inner peace. “Non-self is very important idea. It means giving up the ego.”

The winning news title goes to the Bangkok Post with It’s Wimble-Zen as Djokovic gets inner Buddhist peace

As perhaps needs to be hammered-in far more these days, a key part of making mindfulness work is having a strong foundation in sila (ethics) – my thanks to Genju from 108zenbooks for pointing this out in comments to a recent post here. When it comes to ethics, I think Djokovic is doing pretty well:

Djokovic hanging out at a turtle rehabilitation center.

And:

Novak Djokovic, UNICEF National Ambassador for Serbia and the celebrated tennis champion, visited the “Beneath the Linden Trees” kindergarten in the village of Lesnica, 150 km west of the Belgrade capital, to raise awareness of the importance of investment in early development and early childhood learning. During the visit, Novak spent time with the children, talked to their parents and caregivers, and met with local authorities. (Photo: Tanjug) – photos via NovakDjokovic.com.

Just so you don’t think these are one-off PR stunts, have a look around his Foundation.

So I guess you know who I’ll be rooting for on Sunday with, it seems,  John McEnroe and Chris Evert on my side.

For one last bit of fun, Novak Djokovic: Top Ten Hilarious Moments from Tennis Now:

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