In a new interview with Newsweek, Novak Djokovic’s father, Srdjan, took a shot at Roger Federer questioning why the Swiss continues to play on the tour.
Talking about the Novak and Federer’s 2006 Davis Cup, Srdan said this:
“He showed himself to be the best player in the world but not as a good person at that time,” Srdjan says of Federer. “Nobody has ever treated Novak like this. I don’t understand why Federer is still playing tennis. I don’t know why he’s still playing—he’s already 34.”
And he told Novak that because of where he came from, he would have a tougher road that someone like Federer:
“I have always explained to Novak that he comes from a small country, a bombed country, with many wars, and that he will have a rough path throughout his life,” Srdjan says. “Novak never did anything to hurt anybody. But the boos make him stronger.”
When Novak defeated Federer in the U.S. Open semifinal of 2011, “out of 24,000 people, 23,000 were cheering for Federer. [Novak] won the match, took the microphone and said, ‘You are the best crowd in the world,’” Srdjan says and points to his temple. “This is his mental strength—like granite.”
Srdan also talked about the sacrifice the Djokovic family made for Novak. He said, “Everything was done to make Novak achieve what he has achieved today. As soon as I saw a small thing not going as planned, I would go somewhere else, for another coach.”
Another bit from Srdan:
It was a discipline Srdjan had engrained in the boy. “It is most important to keep your body healthy,” he says. “And it’s why he almost never gets injured.”
Djokovic begins play later today at Indian Wells against Bjorn Frutangelo.
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