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Novak Djokovic’s dad: Rafael Nadal acted differently when Novak surpassed him

Novak DjokovicNovak Djokovic’s father discussed his son’s relationship with some of the other top tennis players in the world in a recent interview, and he says Rafael Nadal’s behavior towards Nole changed after the Serb surpassed the Spaniard as a player.

Nadal leads Djokovic 20-15 head-to-head, thanks largely to a 13-3 record against him on clay. But Djokovic has given Nadal more problems than any other player. He beat Nadal seven straight times, including three straight times in grand slam finals from 2011-2012. Djokovic’s father says Nadal began treating his son differently after that.

Djokovic’s father was also down on Roger Federer, who discredited Djokovic for complaining about injuries.

Here is a translation of Djokovic’s father’s comments:

[Srdjan Djokovic] also said that Nadal used to be Novak’s best friend while he was winning. But when things changed, they were no longer friends. This is not sport, says Srdjan. This is what Novak has in him, but others don’t. Federer may still be the best tennis player in the history of tennis, says Srdjan, but as man he is completely opposite. He attacked Novak at Davis Cup in Geneva, he realized Novak is his successor and in every way tried to discredit him.

That incident described by Srdjan occurred in 2006 when a young Djokovic was facing Federer’s Swiss teammate Stanislas Wawrinka in the Davis Cup. Djokovic called out a trainer for what Federer felt was a lame reason, leading to Federer’s criticism.

“I don’t trust his injuries. I’m serious. I think he’s a joke, you know, when it comes down to his injuries,” Federer said of Djokovic. Federer says the two have patched things up since then.

The one relationship Djokovic’s father says has remained the same is between his son and Andy Murray. The two are nearly identical in age and grew up playing against each other. Even though they have emerged as rivals, Djokovic’s dad expects the two to continue their strong relationship away from the court.

The big irony in all of these comments is that Djokovic’s father said the family tries to avoid interviews and media because they feel like it’s mostly negative or that what they say gets portrayed negatively. He’s probably right about that — he had a long interview talking about how difficult life was trying to give Novak a future in the sport and all the sacrifices they made, and this is the headline he gets. You can go here to read the entire interview, which talks about all the struggles they had when Nole was growing up.

Racquet clap to Beyond the Baseline

Ivan Lendl: Andy Murray has Novak Djokovic ‘under pressure’

Andy MurrayAndy Murray has quickly gone from being a player who couldn’t win the big one to being possibly the top player in the world. In many ways, his career is following LeBron James’, which is exactly who he compared himself to before he won the gold medal at the Olympics, the US Open, and Wimbledon. Murray is playing so well lately — he’s won two of the last four majors and the Olympics — that his coach believes he has world No. 1 player Novak Djokovic “under pressure.”

“If somebody has two majors and an Olympic gold medal, and everybody else has only one major each [in the last year], well, [people] can make their own opinion on that,” coach Ivan Lendl said after Murray beat Djokovic in straight sets, per the Guardian.

“Novak is a great player, don’t get me wrong,” Lendl said. “He has had not just a phenomenal 12 months, but basically since the start of 2011 and so the rankings look at all of that. But he is under pressure right now.”

Not only did Murray beat Djokovic in the finals at Wimbledon, but he also beat the Serb in the finals of the US Open, coming back in a grueling five-setter. Djokovic leads in their head-to-head play 11-9, and the two are now 2-2 in the finals of majors (Djokovic has won both their finals at the Australian). Djokovic is nearly 3,000 points ahead of No. 2 Murray in the ATP rankings, but Lendl believes Murray has Novak under fire.

Murray sat out the French Open so that his back injury could heal, and the move paid off. Djokovic has played a somewhat limited schedule this season, winning his first two tournaments of the season including the Australian, and beating Rafael Nadal in the finals at Monte Carlo. He lost to Nadal at the French and Murray at Wimbledon. Sure, Murray has won the last two meetings with Djokovic in the finals of majors, but let’s not discount Novak. It’s not exactly like he’s falling off here. He can very easily quiet Lendl with a win at the US Open.

Grigor Dimitrov does strip tease at Novak Djokovic’s urging (Video)

Grigor Dimitrov and Novak Djokovic played at the Boodles exhibition this week in England, and they definitely entertained the crowd.

Djokovic, who avenged a loss to Dimitrov at the Madrid Open by winning their rematch at the French Open, defeated Dimitrov 5-7, 6-3, 10-6 in the Wimbledon tune-up. The two entertained the crowd, and they gave fans more than an eyeful.
Grigor Dimitrov strip tease
At one point, Djokovic worked the crowd as he prepared to change his shirt, getting them to chant and cheer as he bounced around and gyrated before stripping down. Djokovic then baited Dimitrov and urged him to remove his shirt. Dimitrov gave in and took off his shirt, much to the delight of the fans. Dimitrov even twirled his shirt above his head and tossed it into the crowd.

[Related: Video - Novak Djokovic massaged by Brazilian models on court]

Everything was done in fun, and it sure seems like Djokovic enjoyed their match:

But the joking around did not end there. Dimitrov then imitated his girlfriend Maria Sharapova, and Djokovic followed with one of his classic impressions of the Russian star. Here’s the video:

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Pete Sampras: Novak Djokovic can challenge my No. 1 ranking record

Novak Djokovic Pete Sampras

Novak Djokovic is the current No. 1 player in the world, and he is drawing some high praise from Pete Sampras. The retired tennis legend says he thinks Djokovic can challenge his record of finishing No. 1 in the rankings at year’s end for six years in a row.

Sampras held the top spot in the world rankings at year’s end from 1993-1998. Djokovic has done it twice in a row. Sampras thinks the Serbian player can do it for many more years.

“I do [think Djokovic can remain No. 1 for years]. I was thinking about that when he won Monte Carlo,” Sampras told TENNIS.com in a conference call with the media. “He could stay No. 1 for quite a while, five or six years in a row. Realistically, if he stays healthy, he could very well do it.”

Sampras was doing the call to promote the second annual Greenbrier Champions Tennis Classic, which is on September 21-22. He referenced Djokovic’s impressive win at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters last week. Djokovic beat Rafael Nadal 6-2, 7-6 on clay, which is Nadal’s specialty.

Sampras cited Djokovic’s versatility as a reason why he could challenge the mark.

“He’s so good. Really, even though the players are great today, I think he really only has to be concerned with a couple of them,” Sampras told TENNIS.com. “Roger [Federer] and Rafa and [Andy] Murray are the only ones that can really push him. I see him—if he stays healthy—staying on top for as long as he wants to be. I just think he’s that good. He wins on hard court, he wins on clay, he wins on grass. He’s done it all. I think he can stay on top for as long as he wants to be.”

Djokovic, 25, has already won six majors. He has won the Australian Open four times and Wimbledon and the US Open once. The only major to elude him has been the French — just like Sampras — though he has come much closer to winning at Roland Garros than Pete ever did. He lost to Nadal at the finals of the French Open last year, so winning at Monte Carlo this year should be a huge confidence boost for him. He also bounced back from his five-set loss to Murray at the US Open with a four-set win in the finals of the Australian in January.

Being No. 1 at year’s end for another four straight seasons would not be easy. Djokovic would have to avoid injuries and a down season. But if anyone can do it, it’s certainly him.

Photo: Twitter/Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic: Lance Armstrong is a ‘disgrace’ to his sport, should suffer for lies

lance armstrongLance Armstrong has decided he finally feels like admitting what we have all known to be true for many years — he’s a cheater. He seems to think that by coming clean in an interview with Oprah Winfrey that he can begin the process of being forgiven, but it’s hardly that simple. Armstrong lied for years. He pressured his teammates into doping. He threatened those who refused to help him cover up his scheme. For those reasons, tennis star Novak Djokovic has no respect for the seven-time Tour de France champion.

“I mean, you know, I think everybody was expecting him to (come clean),” Djokovic said during an interview at the Australian Open. “I mean, it would be ridiculous for him to decline and refuse all the charges because it has been proven. They have like a thousand proofs that he’s positive. I think it’s a disgrace for the sport to have an athlete like this.

“He cheated the sport. He cheated many people around the world with his career, with his life story. I think they should take all his titles away because it’s not fair towards any sportsman, any athlete. It’s just not the way to be successful. So I think he should suffer for his lies all these years.”

While I certainly agree that Armstrong is a disgrace (as we outlined in detail earlier this week), whether or not he cheated the sport is debatable. As Ty Duffy of The Big Lead pointed out, doping in cycling is hardly limited to Armstrong.

It’s like steroid usage in baseball. Did players during the steroid era cheat? Certainly. But ratings and attendance numbers were through the roof, and fans certainly enjoyed watching balls fall out of the park. The players may have cheated, but the enjoyment was real. The same can be said of cycling, which gained popularity and roped in new viewers every time Armstrong was going for another Tour de France title. I’m sure the television networks aren’t all that upset that Armstrong was doping all those years.

Novak Djokovic nearly injured after fans seeking autographs fall (Video)

Novak-Djokovic-autograph-injuryNovak Djokovic and a group of fans had a bit of a scare on Monday after a railing that was separating the autograph seekers from the world’s No. 1 tennis player collapsed. As you can see from the video above, several fans — including some children — went tumbling onto Djokovic and appeared to hurt some part of his lower body. He limped into the locker room after his victory over Andreas Seppi and later told reporters he was fine.

“It was a bit of a shock and I’m glad that the children involved are OK,” Djokovic said according to The Telegraph. “I am fine.”

Fortunately, no one was seriously injured. Djokovic later paired with Ana Ivanovic and won his doubles match, so it seems safe to say that the minor injury didn’t have a lasting effect. The incident itself, however, may have. Djokovic may have never thought he had to be on his toes while signing autographs, but I’m sure people failing through railings will be in the back of his mind every time he does so in the future.

Bizarre injury? Sure, but we’ve seen weirder. Just ask Andy Murray and his strained buttocks.

H/T Game On!

Novak Djokovic denies buying up the entire world’s supply of donkey cheese

Earlier this month, we learned about the world’s most expensive cheese. It is apparently made from donkeys, produced at only one farm in the world and can bring the cost of a burger up to $4,000 when piled on top of it. We also thought that Novak Djokovic liked the Serbian cheese (also known as “pule”) so much that he purchased the entire annual supply of it for his chain of restaurants in Serbia.

According to the world’s top-ranked tennis player, that is not entirely true. In fact, Djokovic said he is just learning about the cheese himself.

“It is not completely true that we have bought the whole supply of donkey cheese, even though it was the first time in my life I heard that donkey cheese existed,” he told the Herald Sun in Australia.

“There is a certain farm in Serbia that produces it and, as I understand it, it is the only farm in the world to do so, which is very interesting. They came to our restaurant and offered co-operation, so that is all. We are now thinking and seeing what we can do with that, but it is not true that I already bought the whole supply.”

Djokovic said he knows the cheese — which sells for around $500 a pound — is high quality, but he certainly didn’t sound like a man who knows enough about it to purchase an entire year’s supply and start serving $1,000 omelettes with it. Perhaps he is simply a business owner who is playing coy and attempting to keep his secrets under wraps? It’s certainly a possibility.