Novak Djokovic’s father Srdjan Djokovic has, over the years, made several blunt and critical remarks about his son’s rivals and detractors. But while many believe Srdjan should be more diplomatic with his comments, Novak recently claimed he ‘accepts’ and ‘respects’ his father’s outspoken nature.

Roger Federer has historically been one of the principal targets of Srdjan Djokovic’s barbs. And the 60-year-old’s attacks on Federer have seemingly intensified over the last few weeks; he recently claimed the Swiss legend is not as good a person as he is a champion.

In that context, Novak Djokovic was probed about his father’s comments after his win over Jannik Sinner at the Monte Carlo Masters. The World No. 1 responded by claiming he cannot control what his father says, but that he loves him dearly for the way he has supported him throughout his life.

“I love my father,” Djokovic said. “My dad is the greatest support I have had, especially in the early days. But obviously I can’t control everything he says. I mean, that’s how it is, it is as it is… (smiling). Everyone thinks with their own head. I have to accept it and respect it.”

According to Novak Djokovic, his father is an extremely passionate man who, like most fathers, always thinks about his son’s best interests. Djokovic declared that he will always side with his father no matter what the situation, and pointed out that everyone has the right to free speech.

“My father is a very, very passionate man,” Djokovic continued. “He protects me and he loves me. I know he does it with the best and purest intentions. Maybe we are all saying or doing things that may offend other people. I understand that. I am always by my father’s side and everything he does. We are a family.

“Of course I will stay on his side and protect him,” the Serb added. “Everyone has the right to say what they think, even though I can’t always agree with everything they say.”

I know what it takes to be in top form at Roland Garros: Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic after his win over Jannik Sinner at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters
Novak Djokovic after his win over Jannik Sinner at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters

Novak Djokovic also spoke about his claycourt ambitions during his post-match press conference. The Serb asserted that he knows what he has to do to attain peak form for the French Open.

But Djokovic revealed that he also wishes to do well at the Monte Carlo Masters and in the Serbia Open.

“I know what it takes to be in top form at Roland Garros, which is the tournament where I really want to play my best tennis on clay,” Djokovic said. “But it’s still a long way off. I want to do well here in Monte Carlo, then in Belgrade, the tournament that I play at home, and which obviously excites me.”

Novak Djokovic understands, however, that Roland Garros is still a fair few days away. He expressed his wish to stay healthy until that time, so that he can play his best tennis at the claycourt Major.

“I have just started this campaign on clay, Paris is still far away,” Djokovic said. “I hope to play well regularly and not get injured. I really want to be at the top for Roland Garros.”

Published 15 Apr 2021, 23:32 IST