World number one Novak Djokovic [ Images ] said his years in the sport helped him switch off his emotions to beat Robin Haase and reach the semi-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters on Friday, a day after learning of the death of his grandfather.
The Serb, had some trouble focusing as he let Dutchman Haase recover from 4-1 down to 4-4 in the first set but wowed a supportive crowd as he went on to win 6-4, 6-2.
"Today was a bit better, but still a lot of emotional ups and downs throughout the match," Djokovic told reporters, having only issued a statement on Thursday after beating Alexandr Dolgopolov.
"I'm very satisfied that I was able to compose myself and get on the court and try to win matches. I got to the semi-finals, which is big result for me under the circumstances."
"Over the years, I've learned whenever I play tennis to kind of switch off from everything else. You get that mindset and that ability to switch off when you dedicate a lot of time to this sport," added the Wimbledon [ Images ], U.S. Open and Australian Open [ Images ] champion.
"I'm a professional, and life goes on. I know that I cannot change anything now," he calmly said.
Having described his grandfather as "my hero and a fighter... who is always sending me lots of positive energy" after winning in Miami [ Images ], Djokovic said he was still feeling his support.
"He's with me, I know that, in spirit. I'm remembering only the nicest memories, and that's what gave me strength to play yesterday and today," he said.