Novak Djokovic: I Was Very Close To My Grandfather, It Was A Big Loss For Me And My Family
by Tom Gainey | April 20th, 2012, 1:44 pm
  • 10 Comments

Novak Djokovic finally met with the press today at the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters. A day after learning of his grandfather’s passing, the World No. 1 spoke about the events and emotions following a straight-set win over Robin Haase.

“Yesterday I received the news at wrong time,” Djokovic said. “Today was a bit better, but still a lot of emotional ups and downs throughout the match. But look, you know, I’m playing tennis. I’m very satisfied that I was able to, you know, compose myself and get on the court and try to win matches.”

Djokovic admitted that he considered withdrawing from the tournament.

“But I’m a professional in one hand, and life goes on,” he said. “I know that I cannot change anything now. Obviously it’s what life gives you and takes you. It’s a normal circle of life. I was very close to him, so it was a big loss for me and all the family. But 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.”

His win today puts him in the semifinals tomorrow against Tomas Berdych, but it’s the same day as the funeral which Djokovic says he will not be able to attend.

“No, it’s not possible,” Djokovic said. “It’s a very sensitive thing to talk about really. Every religion has a different way of proceeding, the funerals, life itself. I like to believe that when a person goes away from this world, the spirit stays and just moves to another living being, and we should celebrate the life that that person left behind. So I tried to focus on that. Obviously it’s not an easy task to talk about because you keep on thinking about a person not being present. But, look, you know, I have the nicest memories only. I would like it to stay that way.”

The Serb also echoed Andy Murray’s aversion to the blue courts in Madrid.

“To be honest with you, as far as I know, most of the top players I talked to, nobody agreed on that,” Djokovic said. “I never played on blue clay. Rafa didn’t. Roger didn’t. We’re going on there and we’re going to play for the first time ever. We don’t even know if it’s a natural blue clay because natural clay is a red clay. So we will find out really.
I’m not really too happy about it, you know what I mean?

“But definitely there is a certain rule within ATP that the president is able to make decision by himself without having players agree to that. That rule has to be changed because it’s not fair. That’s what happened last year. That is why Madrid has a blue clay.”

“They asked for my opinion. I said, Until I play on it, I cannot give you an opinion. We didn’t have time. Obviously last year they had one indoor court, blue clay. A couple players played. They told me that it wasn’t good, that the bounce wasn’t the same. Maybe because it was of the conditions, played indoors. So, okay, maybe they didn’t have an opportunity to make a blue clay court outdoors. Maybe it would make a change. Still, I mean, for sure I know the top players didn’t try it: Roger, Rafa, myself, Murray. If you don’t have the top players agreeing on that, it doesn’t make sense for me really.”

My condolences go out to Novak and those close to him.


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10 Comments for Novak Djokovic: I Was Very Close To My Grandfather, It Was A Big Loss For Me And My Family

Brando Says:

”life goes on,” he said. “I know that I cannot change anything now. Obviously it’s what life gives you and takes you. It’s a normal circle of life. I was very close to him, so it was a big loss for me and all the family. But he’s with me, I know that, in spirit. I’m remembering only the nicest memories, and that’s what gave me strength.”

THAT is a genuinely wise sentiment nole possesses there.


jane Says:

No surprises to me in what he said to the press: but very bittersweet in tone. I hope Nole can reach the final, but he’s done well to play on, in my humble opinion (yes, Humble Rafa, I can be humble too ;))


Novak Says:

Novak the hero, marches on, into the finals, we hope……………….

Your DEDA will be proud of you, as always, gosh so much resemblance with him, he looks more like his grandfather, than Srdjan, his father……….

Novak


RZ Says:

I really hope he wins tomorrow because otherwise he’d be thinking that he should have gone to the funeral instead.


jane Says:

From Steve Tignor’s round up on today’s matches:

“Tomorrow Rafa will take that shot into a semifinal with the surprising Simon. Nadal, despite having said that Simon can be tricky, is 4-1 against the Frenchman, and all four of those wins were in straight sets. His only loss came in a third-set tiebreaker at the Madrid Masters in 2008, when that tournament was on a hard court.

That’s not a gimme—Simon is tricky, and you have to hit a lot of balls to beat him—but it’s likely that the other semi, between Berdych and Novak Djokovic, will be more competitive. Er, well, maybe it will. Djokovic is 8-1 against Berdych; one of those eight come on clay, a four-set win for Novak in Davis Cup in 2010. But Berdych played an excellent, well-measured, three sets of tennis against Murray today, and he’s coming off a big, three-win Davis Cup weekend against Djokovic’s fellow Serbs.

Much will depend on Novak’s state of mind. It’s obviously been a draining couple of days for him. Will he be more motivated by his grandfather’s death to get his first win in his adopted hometown? Probably. Could he run out of gas, as well as some of that motivation, if he falls behind against Berdych? Possibly. Djokovic has hardly played his best or most ferocious tennis the last two rounds, but neither Dolgopolov nor Haase were up to the mental task of taking him out. Haase, in particular, appeared to be lost out there today.

As scratchy as that match was, though, it gave us one very memorable moment. After gathering up a drop shot and then running back for a crosscourt forehand pass, Djokovic let loose with his first punch-the-sky fist-pump since his grandfather passed. It felt cathartic, at least for this viewer, a tennis champ’s way of saying—roaring—“Life goes on.””


Dory Says:

Noolleeeeee!! You are the best. You are such a professional and you are all doing the right things, 100% focused.


jane Says:

Nice one sar: the court coverage is great but that first defensive get off that sharply angled forehand was special too. Thanks for posting that.


Michael Says:

I like this postive attitude of Novak. This is what has taken him to great heights. He believes in himself and never gives up. Although it was a great personal loss, he has continued playing which shows his steel resolve and determination.


MP Says:

I actually am not so pleased with his comments. I am a Novak fan and thought they would push the funeral to Monday so he could attend, or perhaps Sunday evening. It’s a question of what matters in life. I would not make the choice he has made – not even for a grand slam tournament, much less MC – but it’s his decision and I hope he will not have to feel regret over it some day.

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Rankings
ATP - Aug 25 WTA - Aug 25
1 Novak Djokovic1 Serena Williams
2 Rafael Nadal2 Simona Halep
3 Roger Federer3 Na Li
4 Stan Wawrinka4 Petra Kvitova
5 David Ferrer5 Agnieszka Radwanska
6 Milos Raonic6 Maria Sharapova
7 Tomas Berdych7 Angelique Kerber
8 Grigor Dimitrov8 Eugenie Bouchard
9 Andy Murray9 Ana Ivanovic
10 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga10 Jelena Jankovic
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