Busted Racquet

Novak Djokovic’s father tees off on Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal in Serbian newspaper

Busted Racquet

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Srdan and Novak Djokovic. (Getty Images)

Ah, Tennis Dads. You know them from your local club, abrasive and annoying and beloved by absolutely no one. A proud and hearty bunch, convinced that the little gem of their loins is every bit as good as the No. 1 player in the world. And if their offspring happens to BE the No. 1 player in the world? Yeah ... it's still terrible.

Here, via For the Win, is a Serbian-newspaper interview with Srdan Djokovic, father of Novak, in which he lights up two of Djoker's greatest rivals, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

The article is headlined "Srđan Đoković: Porodica je bila uz Novaka kad niko nije hteo da nam pomogne!", and based on that, you can tell that Srdan brings the heat. Or a nutritious breakfast. Or a puppy. Look, we can't read Serbian, so we don't quite know. But according to For The Win, Srdan praises Novak's sportsmanship and ability to rebound from defeats. Anyone who saw Djokovic's classy speech in defeat at Wimbledon a few weeks back can attest to that. But when asked about whether Nadal or Federer possessed similar sportsmanship, well, Srdan went off the beam:

"Nadal mu je bio najbolji prijatelj dok ga je pobeđivao. Kad se stvar promenila, više nisu bili prijatelji. To nije sportski. To je ono što Novak ima u sebi, a oni ne. Federer je možda još uvek najbolji teniser u istoriji, ali je kao čovek sušta suprotnost. Napao je Novaka na Dejvis kupu u Ženevi, shvatio je da je on njegov naslednik i na sve načine je pokušavao da ga diskredituje. Novakov uspeh je neverovatna stvar i nešto što neki ne mogu da shvate."

Now, we're sure you know exactly what that means, but we don't. Here's one translation:

"Nadal was his best friend while he was winning. When the thing has changed, the more they were friends. It is not sport. This is what Novak has in itself, and they do not. Federer and number two is perhaps still best tennis player in history, but as a man in stark contrast with. lashed out at Novak at the Davis Cup in Geneva, I realized that he and his successor in all the ways it has been trying to discredit him. Novakov success is an unbelievable thing and something that some may not understand."

Here's another:

"Nadal was his best friend while he was winning. When things change, the more they were friends. It's not a sport. This is what Novak has in it, and they do not. Federer might still be the best tennis player in history, but as a human being the exact opposite. He attacked Novak at Davis Cup in Geneva, he realized it was his successor, and in all ways trying to discredit him. Novak's success is an amazing thing and something that one can not understand."

There seems to be some kind of strangeness going on in the translation there with the Nadal section; the general idea that Srdan seemed to be trying to get across was that Nadal was a good buddy when he could beat Djokovic, but when Novak stepped up, Rafa bailed. As for Federer? Not much need for translation massage there.

This isn't the kind of thing that will have much of an impact on Djokovic; every player is used to seeing older folks interfere. Still, we can count on media looking for many more interviews with Srdan. You never know what he'll say next!

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