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.
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. Thankfully, some of you can. Reader Al Simmons tells us that the translation is "Srđan Đoković: Our family supported Novak when no one wanted to help us!" That makes a lot more sense.
But according to several readers who can translate Serbian, 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 computer-aided 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."
"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."
And, courtesy of Mr. Simmons, here's a much better translation of the words:
"Nadal was his best friend while he was beating him (i.e. beating Novak). When things changed (i.e. Novak started beating Nadal), they were not friends any longer. That is not good sportsmanship (on Nadal’s part). That (good sportsmanship) is something that is a part of Novak’s makeup, but not theirs. Federer still might be the best tennis player in history, but as a man he is quite the opposite. He attacked (criticized) Novak at the Davis Cup in Geneva, (because) he understood that (Novak) is his successor, so he tried all manner of ways to discredit him. Novak’s success is an unbelievable thing, and is something that some people cannot understand (i.e, cannot accept).”
Certainly, the entire article isn't that way; the elder Djokovic does praise Andy Murray, and is proud of how close he and his son remain to this day.
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!
-Follow Jay Busbee on Twitter at @jaybusbee.-