Novak Djokovic’s father, Srdjan, has upped the rhetoric at the top of men’s tennis with some interesting comments in an interview with the Serbian tabloid Kurir published today.
Via google translation, Mr. Djokovic reveals that Rafael Nadal and his star son were once best friends but that changed when Novak began beating the Spaniard. Novak has the quality to continue the friendship, but according to Srdjan the Nadal camp doesn’t.
He also said that Roger Federer is unable to understand Novak’s success. He points out that Roger attacked Novak during the Davis Cup in Switzerland in 2006 when Federer beat Djokovic easily, then afterward said this about the Serb saying, “You know I don’t trust his injuries, no it’s not funny, I mean I’m serious, and I think that he’s a joke when he comes down to these injuries.”
Roger does have some unique history with the Djokovic family, and not just with the kids. Djokovic’s mother, Dijana, once made the “King is Dead” comment referring to Federer when her son won the 2008 Australian Open beating Roger in the semis. And Federer was reported to have told the Djokovic parents to “shut up” during the 2008 Monte Carlo semifinals.
With respect to Andy Murray, he said the two born just a week apart are probably not as close as they once were, understandably so because they are now No. 1, No. 2 in the world and competing for the biggest titles. But he said after their playing days they will likely again be good friends. Srdjan calls Murray a true sportsmen.
Also in the interview, Srdjan talks about how the family put on their resources into helping Novak achieve his life dream of becoming No. 1.
Some of the sacrifices they made while raising Novak in Serbia:
- He borrowed money from a loan shark, who charged him 15% monthly interest.
- The Djokovic’s sold all their gold and lived off the money for months.
- They lived in rented apartments for 17 years.
- They didn’t tell Novak about their money issues until he was 17 years old.
- Diana Djokovic worked 15-hour days and raised Novak’s two brothers while Srdjan was with Novak at tournaments.