Novak Djokovic: Roger Federer is moving slower

roger-federerRoger Federer is still a very fine tennis player, but it’s clear that he is in the downside of his career. He is 32 and currently ranked No. 6 in the world. This year he failed to reach the quarterfinals of a major for the first time since 2004, as he was ousted in the second round of Wimbledon and fourth round of the US Open.

Though he is still respectful of Fed’s abilities and talents, Novak Djokovic explained bluntly what one of Federer’s problems is.

“From my point of view he hasn’t been moving as well this year and I guess that’s one of the reasons he hasn’t had much success,’ Djokovic said of Federer this week at the ATP World Tour Finals in London. “He is moving maybe slower than he used to but he is still striking the ball really well and on his day is capable of beating anyone.”

Djokovic would know — he just beat Federer in three sets in the semifinals of the Paris Masters. The two will also play for the second time in four days because they’re both in Group B for the London event. Juan Martin del Potro and Richard Gasquet are also in Group B, while Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer, Stanislas Wawrinka and Tomas Berdych are in Group A.

Like Djokovic said, Federer is still capable of beating anyone when he’s on, but he just doesn’t have the consistency that he had during his prime. That’s to be expected for someone his age. Hopefully he doesn’t hang on too long past the point of being unable to win majors, because few want to remember him as being anything other than one of the best players in the world.

Air Serbia named its first plane after Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic airplane

Novak Djokovic received the ultimate honor in his home country (well, not really, but it’s fun to say that), as he recently had an airplane named after him.

Air Serbia, which is Serbia’s new national carrier, named its first plane after the country’s most famous athlete. The plane is an Airbus A319 and features the country’s colors. It made its first flight over the weekend, a flight to Abu Dhabi for its official launch.

Djokovic is a six-time grand slam winner and currently ranked No. 2 in the world. The company plans to name future planes after 14 notable living Serbs. If the next plane doesn’t have Vlade Divac’s mug on it, I’m going to be ticked.

Photo: Twitter/Air Serbia

Andy Roddick tried to fight Novak Djokovic after 2008 US Open match

Andy Roddick revealed on “FOX Sports Live” this week that he nearly fought Novak Djokovic following their match at the 2008 US Open.

You may recall that prior to the match, Roddick accused Djokovic of faking multiple injuries. In his pre-match news conference, Roddick went along with a reporter who cited all of Djokovic’s injuries, only Roddick jokingly added in a few others like bird flu and anthrax.

“If it’s there, it’s there,” Roddick said prior to their match. “It’s just a lot. He’s either quick to call the trainer or he’s the most courageous guy of all time.”

Djokovic beat Roddick 6-2, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 in that quarterfinal match. Nole addressed the injury controversy in an interview after the match. He was booed by the New York crowd as soon as he brought up the injury issue.

Novak Djokovic“Well, obviously Andy was saying I had 16 injuries,” Djokovic said in his interview. “Obviously I don’t, right?

“I know they [the crowd] are already against me because they think I am faking everything,” Djokovic said. “That’s not nice anyhow to say in front of this crowd that I have 16 injuries and that I’m faking it.”

Roddick heard the interview, and that ticked him off. As he explained on FOX Sports Live this week, the interview led him to go after Djokovic in the locker room and nearly fight his opponent.

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Novak Djokovic and girlfriend Jelena Ristic are engaged

Novak Djokovic Jelena Ristic

Top-ranked tennis star Novak Djokovic and his girlfriend Jelena Ristic have been dating for around eight years. We have grown used to seeing Ristic courtside at almost all of Djokovic’s matches, and she also happens to be the director of his charity foundation. That’s why it comes as no surprise that the happy couple is engaged.

Serbian news outlet InSerbia.com first reported that Djokovic proposed to Ristic earlier this week in Monte Carlo. After news of the engagement got out, Djokovic confirmed things via Twitter.

If you remember, Djokovic recently said that he and Ristic have talked about marriage and spending their future together. To make the story a bit more interesting, there have also been rumors that world No. 3-ranked tennis player Andy Murray could be Djokovic’s best man.

The wedding bells have been a long time coming for Djokovic and Ristic. Marriage makes perfect sense for a couple that seems to have such a positive influence on each other’s lives.

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Photo: Twitter/Jelena Ristic
H/T The Big Lead

Novak Djokovic and girlfriend Jelena Ristic talk marriage

Novak Djokovic Jelena Ristic

Novak Djokovic has been together with girlfriend Jelena Ristic for several years, though the two have yet to take the next step in their relationship. According to Nole, the two have been together for around eight years. Ristic has been a fixture in Nole’s box during his tennis matches for the past several tournaments. The Serbian tennis player says they have talked about getting married.

“We have been together for eight years and we are planning joint future because we really love each other very much. We provide emotional stability to each other, which helps us in our professional careers,” Djokovic was recently quoted as saying, per Tennis Earth.

Ristic also says the two have talked about a potential wedding.

“We spoke about the wedding, that is natural course of things,” Ristic has been quoted as saying, per Tennis Earth. “Our mutual feelings lead us to it. When we have children, they will inherit excellent genes from both sides, because my mother was Olympic champion in handball. I am very proud of Novak, no matter what he does.”

Nole is the current No. 1 player in the world. He has won six grand slam events, including the Australian Open four times. He also won the US Open and Wimbledon as part of a highly successful 2011 season, which saw him win three of the four majors. The only grand slam he has not won is the French Open, where he reached the finals in 2012. But Djokovic has beaten Rafael Nadal three times on clay, including a straight sets win in the final of the Monte Carlo Masters earlier this year, so that may come eventually.

In her Twitter profile, Ristic calls herself a daughter, sister, girlfriend and consultant. She is also the director of Novak Djokovic’s charity foundation. Between her presence traveling with Djokovic to his events and running his foundation, Ristic is extremely involved in his life and part of his success as a tennis player. Maybe it’s about time they tied the knot, especially with the offseason coming up.

Below are more photos of the two:

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Novak Djokovic distances himself from father’s comments

Novak DjokovicNovak Djokovic distanced himself from the comments made by his father, Srdjan, about several of Nole’s competitors.

In a recent interview with a Serbian outlet, Srdjan took jabs at the behavior of top players Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Srdjan said Federer’s character does not match his reputation as the best player in the history of the game. He also said Nadal began treating Novak differently once Nole started beating the Spaniard. Nadal responded quickly, saying that his relationship with Djokovic (who has had more success against him than any other player in the world) is “very good.”

Whether or not Novak privately agrees with his father, he attempted to clear things up publicly.

“I’m really sorry that his words have caused so much attention, and also that they might have hurt my colleagues in some way, and with whom I have good and fair relationships,” Djokovic said, via Tennis World.

“But as unfortunate as it sounds, I cannot be held responsible for his deeds and for his words because everybody is entitled to their opinion, even my father, and I love him so much, and respect him. He’s helped me so much in my life to arrive where I am but sometimes, you know, people come up with their opinions as they like and me, I have to say that I didn’t have any influence on that. And as I said, I cannot be responsible for it.”

Like I said, it’s entirely possible that Nole agrees with what his father said, but felt he had to distance himself publicly for image purposes. The big irony in all this is that Srdjan said he and his family avoided speaking with the media because they didn’t want to end up in headlines after the media twists words or focuses on only negative items. After what has happened with the one interview he did give, he’d probably be wise to stick to his usual strategy.

Rafael Nadal: My relationship with Novak Djokovic is ‘very good’

Rafael Nadal Novak DjokovicRafael Nadal responded this week to Novak Djokovic’s father by saying his relationship with the Serbian tennis player is good.

Djokovic’s father, Srdjan, said in an interview that Nadal started treating his son differently after his son started beating the Spaniard on the courts. Nadal says that is not the case.

“My relationship with him [Novak] has always been very good and it still is,” Nadal said at the DC Inter Manacor this week, via Tennis World.

Nadal also indicated that his relationship with Novak is between the two tennis players, and that Srdjan is out of the loop.

“If he wants to know how I get along with Nole, he should better ask his son,” Nadal added.

What would you expect Nadal to say? Of course things are “very good” from his perspective. Would we really expect him to admit that he started acting differently to Nole because he felt threatened by the Serbian player’s success? Come on now.