"I used to wear sleeveless shirts & long shorts just like him" - Novak Djokovic's brother Djordje on idolizing Rafael Nadal

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal
Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal

Novak Djokovic's brother Djordje, who is also the tournament director of the Serbia Open, recently revealed that growing up he used to idolize Novak's arch-rival Rafael Nadal. Speaking with the "Wish & Go" podcast, Djordje narrated an anecdote about being introduced to Nadal around 15 years ago.

"I have got some really nice memories of Rafael Nadal," Djordje Djokovic said. "Novak introduced me to him in Monte-Carlo in 2006. Once, I was sitting in the players' lounge when Nadal entered the room. Bear in mind that he was one of my idols."

Novak Djokovic's brother was so obsessed with Rafael Nadal that he used to don the Spaniard's signature sleeveless look from the mid-2000s. Djordje also recalled how tough it was to converse with Nadal in English back then, as both of them had trouble conveying their ideas in a relatively alien language.

"I used to wear sleeveless shirts and long shorts just like him," Djordje said. "There was a pinball machine around: both of us were not very good with English at that time, but he asked me to play. And we did, my heart was full!"

Rafael Nadal kicked the machine after I beat him in pinball, but he hugged me afterwards: Novak Djokovic's brother

Novak Djokovic (L) and Rafael Nadal in their youth
Novak Djokovic (L) and Rafael Nadal in their youth

Djordje Djokovic then revealed that he ended up beating Rafael Nadal in the pinball match, prompting the Spaniard to kick the machine in jest. Djordje claimed it was from that day onwards that the pair started talking more.

"I beat him, so he kicked the machine (laughing) but he hugged me afterwards," Novak Djokovic's brother said. "From that point on, we chat every time we run into each other. It is a wonderful trait to have, to behave like he does, Rafa really is a great person."

While Djordje Djokovic has had the opportunity to speak frequently with Rafael Nadal over the years, the 25-year-old hasn't had a proper conversation with Roger Federer yet.

"I have met Federer I think 15 times," Djordje continued. "The last time I saw him was during the Davis Cup tie against Switzerland in Novi Sad (in 2014). He was entering the court as I was leaving; we exchanged a few words and that was it. It was all good, but it so happened that I have never interacted with him the way I have with Rafa."

Perhaps Djordje Djokovic could still have a chance to have an elaborate chat with the 20-time Major winner in near future. Roger Federer has almost ascertained that he will play at least two more years on the tour, which should give Djordje the chance to invite the Swiss to the 2022 edition of the Serbia Open.

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Edited by Musab Abid
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