Cape Town - Novak Djokovic has opened up on how his recent lengthy injury layoff taught him one very important thing - the virtue of patience.
Djokovic is preparing for next week's US Open following his impressive win over Roger Federer at the Cincinnati Masters last week - a win that saw him become the first ever player to complete a sweep of all nine Masters 1000 tournaments.
The Serb also won his fourth Wimbledon title in July, again defeating Federer.
It's a far cry from the Djokovic of just a few months ago, as the 13-time Grand Slam winner struggled to find form amid a series of early tournament exits after being forced out of the game for six months with an elbow injury following Wimbledon in 2017.
Still, Djokovic insists his post-injury struggles helped him learn a valuable lesson.
"I think one of the biggest things I’ve learned about myself is how impatient I was," the 31-year old said on Wednesday.
"That was probably one of the hardest ways for me to learn to be patient.
"I've never faced any major injury in my career, which I was very fortunate," Djokovic added.
"But I guess even with the care that I had the body took a lot of beating and eventually I had to address the elbow injury more seriously."
The fact that he has managed to return to his pre-injury form is particularly satisfying for the Serb.
"The Wimbledon win and the Cincinnati win now are much sweeter, more special because of the journey," he said.
Sixth seed Djokovic will be vying for his third US Open title, despite not being entirely happy with his serve.
"It's still a work in progress with the serve, to be honest," he added.
"I'm aware that I can't serve as the guys who are 6'10" obviously can. I'm not looking for that speed - I'm looking more for precision and accuracy."