Novak Djokovic recently reminisced about watching the 2022 Australian Open final between Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev back home in Belgrade with his son Stefan and wife Jelena. The World No. 1 revealed that his son, being an ardent Nadal fan, backed the Spaniard to win on the night and celebrated wildly after every point he won.
Despite being the three-time defending champion, the Serb was prevented from defending his crown at Rod Laver Arena in 2022. Djokovic was deported from Australia days prior to the start of the tournament for non-compliance with the country's vaccination policy.
After a long-standing silence regarding the controversy, the 20-time Grand Slam winner finally gave his side of the story yesterday in an exclusive interview with the BBC.
Among other things, the 34-year-old recalled enjoying the final in the company of his family. The Spaniard ended up winning after a marathon five-setter that lasted over five hours, and in the process became the first man in history to win 21 Grand Slams.
The Serb was amused by how his wife and son picked different players to support during the match, as Jelena wanted Medvedev to win. He was equally delighted by Stefan's imitation of Nadal's iconic fistbump celebration throughout the evening.
"[Thinking about the 2022 Australian Open final] brings a smile to my face because I have the image of my wife and my son cheering for different players on the court that day. My son is a big Rafael Nadal fan," Djokovic said. "My wife was cheering for [Daniil] Medvedev, my son was cheering for Nadal. For every point that Rafa made, Stefan was jumping around and fistbumping like Rafa."
The 20-time Grand Slam champion recounted a recent incident to showcase just how big of a Rafael Nadal fan his son was. Apparently, Stefan had asked his father when he would next play in a tournament that also featured the Mallorcan. When probed as to why, the seven-year-old had replied that he wanted to snap a picture alongside his idol.
"I hope that [if I were playing against Nadal, my son would be cheering for me]. But he asked me a few days ago, 'When is the next tournament where you're going to participate where Rafa will also play?' I said, 'I am not sure. I hope it is very soon. Why are you asking me that?' He said, 'Because I would really like to take a photo with Rafa!' 'We can arrange that, I'm sure'," he said.
Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are part of the line-up at Indian Wells Masters
Novak Djokovic could help fulfill his son's dream of taking a photo with Rafael Nadal as early as next month. The World No. 1 and the Spaniard are both on the entry list for the Indian Wells Masters, to be held from March 10-20.
The Spaniard has already confirmed his participation at the ATP 1000 event, while the Serb's participation is still up in the air because of the tournament's vaccination mandate. Both players have lifted the trophy at Indian Wells in the past; Nadal thrice and the 20-time Grand Slam champion five times.
They have also faced each other four times in the tournament. The Mallorcan won their first encounter, beating Djokovic in the final of the 2007 edition to win his first title. The following three meetings have all gone in favor of the 34-year-old, including a win in the 2011 final to lift his second title.
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