The secret to Novak Djokovic's post-30 success? Not his best-in-tennis return. Or his limb-twisting, body-bending court coverage. Or even his baseline consistency or clutch gene.
No, ask Djokovic to explain how he keeps playing so well at this age, and the Australian Open's defending champion points to a quality he says he shares with rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
"Roger has talked about this as well, Rafa as well, that age is just a number. It's not just a cliche, but it's really something that I feel like the three of us have in common. It's really the way we approach career and our everyday life," Djokovic said during a news conference before the year's first Grand Slam tournament begins Monday (Sunday EST).
"I think we found a way, a formula, to balance private (and) professional life, so we are able to kind of excel in tennis and still be able to compete at the highest level after many years, still be motivated, still be mentally fresh and, of course, physically prepared and fit to compete in best-of-five-sets with young players that are coming up."
Djokovic, 32, already owns four major titles since he turned 30, the same number as Federer. Only one man has won more often at that stage of his career in the professional era: Nadal, 33, has five such championships.
They also, of course, occupy the top three spots in history for men's singles trophies at majors. Federer leads with 20, one ahead of Nadal.
Djokovic has quickly risen to 16, including a record seven at Melbourne Park, by grabbing four of the past six overall.
"For me, it seems like my career was going in sequences of several years. I think every sequence had different circumstances in life, in different situations, that have made me the person and the player I am today. I just had to adapt to these newly occurring circumstances and evolve, kind of grow stronger, and also find purpose and motivation in each of these phases," Djokovic said, speaking in paragraphs, as he often does.
"I mean, I'm a completely different person, have a completely different life today than I had five years ago. I'm a father of two children. Obviously things are not the way they were 5 or 10 years ago. I know that," he said. "But that doesn't necessarily mean it's better or it's worse. It's just different."
Another factor that at first seemed like a burden but Djokovic now calls an inspiration and motivator is the push he's gotten to improve by needing to compete in an era with Federer and Nadal.
Djokovic is seeded second in Australia -- one spot behind Nadal, one spot ahead of Federer -- and is scheduled for the last match in Rod Laver Arena on Day 1, playing 37th-ranked Jan-Lennard Struff at night.
Federer, Serena Williams and 2019 champion Naomi Osaka play in that stadium during the day, while top-ranked Ash Barty -- who will try to become the first Australian woman in 40 years to win the country's major -- precedes Djokovic at night.
The most anticipated contest of the opening day is slated for Margaret Court Arena: seven-time major champion Venus Williams, 39, against Coco Gauff, 15, in a rematch of their first-round matchup at Wimbledon last year won by the teenager.
The tennis world is waiting for a young man to take a step forward and win a major championship; there hasn't been a first-time major winner under 30 since 2014.
"Well, they're coming closer and closer. It's obvious," Djokovic said, mentioning 23-year-old Daniil Medvedev (runner-up to Nadal at the U.S. Open last year), 26-year-old Dominic Thiem (twice the runner-up to Nadal at the French Open) and 21-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas (a semifinalist at the Australian Open a year ago).
"They're very, very close. They're literally one set away," Djokovic added. "On a given day, in the very near future, I think that can happen. It's going to happen. It's inevitable. What they're missing? I don't think they are missing too much, to be honest."
Roman Sadovsky won his first Canadian figure skating title, setting the standard with two clean quadruple jumps on Saturday to earn Canada's lone berth in men's singles at the world championships.
The 20-year-old from Toronto posted a score of 260.57, then sat nervously and watched as pressure got the better of both Keegan Messing and Nam Nguyen. They both fell twice.
"When you're skating it's one kind of stress level, but you're sort of in control of what you're doing, but once you're sitting down you have no control and you're just watching and it's not a good feeling," Sadovsky said. "It's sort of bittersweet because you want to place well but at the same you want to see your friends compete well."
Emily Bausback won a women's singles event that saw three newcomers climb the podium, while Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro won their second consecutive pairs title, and Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier captured their first national dance title.
Canada has just one men's spot at the world championships in Montreal based on last year's results.
"I put the pressure on myself, I definitely wanted it really badly, I've been thinking about it since last worlds when I found out we only had one spot," Sadovsky said. "I'm still sort of in disbelief. I've always wanted to get a national title, not just in senior but anywhere.
"To win my first national title at senior is fine, I like it."
No. 2 Baylor goes much deeper than its starting five, and coach Kim Mulkey is getting more confident in those players coming off the bench.
Mulkey is getting plenty of chances to use them all, and the defending national champion has another record winning streak.
Moon Ursin, one of the non-starters, had a career-high 22 points to lead five players in double figures as the Lady Bears set a new Big 12 record by winning their 45th straight regular season conference game, 91-51 over No. 17 West Virginia on Saturday night.
"Hard to do. Y'all have heard me say it a million times, I think people become spoiled. I think the fans become spoiled. I think they expect it. We don't expect it," Mulkey said. "We think actually it will be a lot tougher because of the success of the previous times. It's not easy. I don't care how it looks sometimes."
Baylor starters were outscored 46-45 by their teammates coming off bench, even while playing 17 combined minutes more.
The Lady Bears (15-1, 4-0 Big 12) had matched their own record with their 44th Big 12 win in a row three days earlier in a 90-47 win at Kansas, when the starters sat on the bench the entire second quarter.
"I know everybody's talented on our team. We practice against each other all the time. ... It's just a lot of talent coming off the bench," said starting forward NaLyssa Smith, who had 10 points and 10 rebounds in just over 22 minutes Saturday.
Juicy Landrum had 14 points for Baylor, while fellow starter Te'a Cooper had 11 points in only 14 minutes. Queen Egbo added 10 points, and Lauren Cox had 13 rebounds.
Mulkey said her confidence because of how the non-starters are playing on both ends of the court — and who they are doing it against.
"They're doing it against starters for the opposing team," she said. "That's when you know your team is pretty darn good."
Baylor also extended the nation's longest home winning streak to 49 in a row, half of the 98 by then-No. 1 UConn had until the Lady Bears won there on Jan. 9.
Kysre Gondrezick had 15 points for West Virginia (13-3, 3-2), which shot only 26.2% from the field (17 of 65), and that was boosted by making 8-of-19 in the fourth quarter. Madisen Smith scored 12 points.
"We have no discipline right now," said West Virginia coach Mike Carey, who spent an extended time in the locker room with his team after the game expressing that message. "Bad shots, don't reverse the ball, don't move it, we've got people who are too much going 1-on-1. Bad shot leads to the layup on the other end."
BIG 12 STREAKS
Baylor's last regular-season Big 12 loss was at home to Texas on Feb. 6, 2017, a setback the Lady Bears avenged in Austin only two weeks later. They are coming off consecutive 18-0 Big 12 records, and also had two undefeated conference seasons and a national title during their 44 in a row from 2011 until January 2014.
Baylor retired the No. 13 jersey of former All-America forward Nina Davis before the game. Davis played for Baylor from 2013-17, and was on teams that made it to the NCAA Elite Eight each season. She is one of six players in school history with 2,000 career points and 1,000 rebounds.
West Virginia: The Mountaineers had have consecutive lopsided losses since a nine-game winning streak that included its first 3-0 start ever in Big 12 play — they lost lost 73-49 at home Wednesday to Oklahoma. WVU was holding teams to 57.8 points a game — a number the Lady Bears passed midway in the third quarter.
"Las two games, and I don't know what it is," Carey said. "They're pressing. We played a little bit harder this game than we did against Oklahoma, but no discipline."
Baylor: This win came against the Big 12's only other ranked team.The Lady Bears had a 58-31 rebounding margin and shot 50.7% overall, with Ursin going 8-of-12.
The Lady Bears will likely stay No. 2 since South Carolina, the only team to beat them, won its only game this week by 33 points. The Gamecocks host No. 10 Mississippi State on Monday night.
West Virginia hosts Oklahoma State on Wednesday night.
Baylor travels about 90 miles north to play at TCU on Wednesday night.
Bangladesh Navy emerged champions in the 43rd National Athletics Championship’2020 securing a total of 47 medals -- 21 gold, 18 silver and 8 bronze -- on the third and last day at the MA Aziz Stadium in Chattogram on Saturday.
Bangladesh Army finished runners-up securing 42 medals – 14 gold, 14 silver and 14 bronze while Ansar and VDP finished 3rd securing two medals – one gold and one silver.
Bangladesh Jail finished 4th securing six medals, BJMC 5th securing four medals, Bangladesh Air Force 6th securing five medals, Sylhet District Sports Association (DSA) 7th securing one medal and Narail DSA 8th securing one medal.
A total of 375 athletes including 88 women from 33 teams took part in 36 events of the meet. The Bangladesh Athletics Federation (BAF) organized national athletics championship outside the capital Dhaka after 14 years under the sponsorship of Chattogram City Corporation (CCC), but the result of the meet was not be recorded as the competition is being held on the grass ground with hand timing.
BAF also dedicated the meet to the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman making his birth centenary.
The Bangabandhu 30th National Women’s Handball Championship, organized by Bangladesh Handball Federation (BHF), began on Saturday (January 18) at the Shaheed (Captain) M Mansur Ali National Handball Stadium here.
Managing Director of the meet’s sponsor Exim Bank Limited Dr Mohammad Haider Ali inaugurated the meet in the afternoon. BHF President AKM Nurul Fazal Bulbul and General Secretary Asaduzzaman Kohinoor were also present on the occasion.
During the inaugural session, one minute silence was observed commemorating federation’s EC member Freedom Fighter Jahurul Islam Basu.
Six matches were decided on the opening day till last report received.
In the day’s matches, Naogaon beat Police AC by 18-15 goals, Panchagarh defeated Dinajpur 29-20, Bangladesh Ansar crushed Gopalganj 25-3, BJMC outplayed Dhaka 34-2, Jamalpur defeated Narail 44-5 while Madaripur beat Gopalganj by 15-10 goals.