After taking Roger Federer’s world number two ranking, Novak Djokovic has opened up on the ‘mental breakdown’ he suffered earlier in his career, the Daily Express report.

The 31-year-old, who has a previous best of 43 victories in a row, is currently on an 18-match winning run after claiming the Shanghai Masters last week.

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However, the Serb, who burst onto the scene after winning the Australian Open in 2008 aged 20, has opened up on the difficulties he faced over the past five years.

Djokovic has claimed 14 Grand Slam titles during his glittering career, but suffered a blip after dropping from world number one in the middle of his career.

Talking on Lewis Howes’ podcast, an emotional Djokovic said:

I had this upward kind of spiral and trajectory in my tennis career, in my life, and everything was great.

And then, all of a sudden, I had this period of two-and-half, three years, where I didn’t win a Slam. I was managing to be three/four in the world, but I just struggled a lot.

And, for me, being No 3 in the world wasn’t enough. I just was not satisfied with that.

The Serb also revealed the exact moment he had a breakdown after a defeat.

But then I reached a kind of mentally low point in my career, I think it was after Roland-Garros, one of the four Slams, and I had lost, I was two sets to love up.

I lost in five sets in quarter-finals against a guy called Jurgen Melzer, he was in the top 10 in the world, very good player, but I had a match and I just lost.

I just had a breakdown. I remember going to my parents and talking about this and that, and I just cried, and, ‘I don’t know if this is worth it. I don’t know if I should keep going,’ and my father was, like, ‘Toughen up! Toughen up!’ You know?

After becoming world number two, Djokovic has targeted Rafael Nadal’s world number one ranking before the end of the year.