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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