Nadal fires back at Djokovic's father

BY Sam Gardner • August 1, 2013

Srdjan Djokovic, the father of world No. 1 tennis player Novak Djokovic, fired a couple barbs at some of his son’s closest competitors in the Serbian media earlier this week.

And the elder Djokovic’s remarks seemed to get under the skin of No. 4-ranked Rafael Nadal, who responded by reportedly telling Novak to get control of his dad.

The story starts with the elder Djokovic’s comments to Kurir, a Serbian-language newspaper. When asked about Nadal and fifth-ranked Roger Federer, Srdjan had the following to say, courtesy of a clunky Google translation:

Nadal was his best friend while he was winning. When things change, [they were no longer] friends. It's not [sporting]. 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 cannot understand.

Now, as for my translation of that translation, this is what I’ve got: Srdjan Djokovic thinks that Nadal stopped being friends with Novak Djokovic when Djokovic passed Nadal for the No. 1 ranking ahead of Wimbledon in 2011, or thereabouts.

He also thinks Federer is a great tennis player, and a terrible person, which hopefully only sounds that harsh because his true comments were lost in translation.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with a dad being proud of his son, of course, but the implication that Nadal and Federer are somehow jealous of Djokovic’s success seems a little far-fetched — both are winning by a wide margin over Djokovic in the Grand Slam title race. Thankfully, Nadal had no problem stepping in and clearing the air.

According to, the Spaniard said the following when asked about Srdjan Djokovic’s comments: “Djokovic's father should talk to his son. I've always got on very well with him and I still do. I've lost lots of matches against him and vice-versa, but we've never had a problem.”

Keep in mind the original interview for that one was probably conducted in Spanish, adding another layer of translation sleuthing.

As for Federer, he still hasn’t responded publicly, but if history is any indication, he’d probably just tell Srdjan Djokovic to shut up:

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