Novak Djokovic's unmatched mental strength nearly landed him a top job for Italian football giant AC Milan.
Djokovic is undoubtedly one of the most resilient competitors in the game, and he has built an aura of indefatigability. Tennis fans unanimously agree that he won most of his Grand Slams because of his mental strength and composure in key moments.
The 36-year-old is the most successful ATP player in history, winning the most Grand Slams of any man with 24 and earning a record career prize money in excess of $180 million. In the early days of his playing career, Djokovic had to battle a series of physical issues and had to change his diet.
Then, he overcame the duopoly enjoyed by longtime rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the late noughties. By 2011, Djokovic established himself as the sport's most dominant champion, contesting for all four Grand Slams every single season and beating Federer and Nadal regularly.
Because of these qualities, Djokovic recently caught the eye of AC Milan owner Gerry Cardinale. According to La Repubblica, the Italian football club considered adding the Serbian tennis legend to their payroll as the team's mental coach a few months ago.
Djokovic's role would have entailed giving motivational speeches at a time when the players were struggling. What made this collaboration a possibility was also Djokovic's fondness of the club.
He has been a boyhood fan of AC Milan and frequents some of their matches when he is away from the tour. At last year's ATP Finals in Turin, he met some of their players backstage while he was competing at the event.
However, the same newspaper that broke this claim also added that talks of a potential deal were never discussed, and there was nothing concrete that followed. AC Milan is currently ranked 3rd in the Serie A table and is looking to restore their golden days of dominance on the European continent.