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15 years ago Roger Federer attacked my son, he knew that someone would come who would be better than him: Novak Djokovic's father

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic at the Laver Cup
Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic at the Laver Cup
Modified 03 Apr 2021

Novak Djokovic’s father, Srdjan Djokovic, recently took another jibe at one of his son’s greatest rivals, Roger Federer. Srdjan claimed that while Federer is one of the greatest 'champions' of tennis, he isn’t as nice as a person.

Srdjan Djokovic cited an incident from the Davis Cup 2006 tie between Switzerland and Serbia, where Roger Federer had called Novak Djokovic a 'joke'. Djokovic had repeatedly asked for the trainer during his match against Stan Wawrinka, which Federer believed was uncalled for.

Things have since cooled down since then between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, and the duo have even discussed the issue personally. But Srdjan Djokovic has seemingly not moved past that incident yet.

Senior Djokovic has now claimed that Federer took a swipe at his son because he feared that he would go on to usurp him from his position at the top of the sport.

"15 years ago, he attacked my son while he was still young, aged 18-19; he knew that someone would come who would be better than him," Srdjan said. "I said then that he was a great champion, the best at that time, but as much as he is a great champion, he is not as good a man."

Srdjan Djokovic explains why he doesn’t watch his son Novak Djokovic’s matches anymore

Novak Djokovic during his 2021 Australian Open final
Novak Djokovic during his 2021 Australian Open final

Srdjan Djokovic was once an almost permanent fixture in Novak Djokovic’s box during his matches, and more particularly at Slams. But in recent years the 33-year-old's immediate family hasn't been traveling with him as regularly, for a variety of reasons.

Interestingly, Srdjan revealed that he no longer watches Novak Djokovic’s matches even on television. According to the 60-year-old, he and his son are polar opposites mentally. While Novak is calm, composed and thoughtful, he himself is anything but, which makes watching his son's matches tough for him.

Dijana and Srdjan Djokovic at the 2012 French Open (background)
Dijana and Srdjan Djokovic at the 2012 French Open (background)

Novak Djokovic's father did claim, however, that his wife Dijana has no such issues since she is mentally very strong.

"He took the best from me and my wife," Novak Djokovic’s father said. "From me courage and bravery, and from my mother calmness and composure. When he comes across a wall, he stops and thinks, and I hit my head until I faint. That's why I don't watch his matches anymore. Now I’m the final of the Australian Open, watching maybe a few minutes. What am I doing? I'm staring around. I'm just waiting for the set to end, so let me know. Diana is watching, women are stronger than us."

Srdjan Djokovic has made several controversial statements in the past, particularly about Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. And many believe that those comments are at least partially responsible for the way Novak Djokovic is portrayed in the media.

But Srdjan Djokovic insisted that he wouldn’t change his ways, because he believes that his statements only reflect the truth.

"Well, I'm really sorry that they don't like it," Srdjan added. "I'm just telling the truth, what they don't like, what should I do? They slander him so much, say so many disgusting things about him that it's just unbelievable."
Published 03 Apr 2021, 13:44 IST
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