x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Djokovic's father naive to expect Federer and Nadal to be happy losers

Federer and Nadal are highly competitive creatures, both addicted to the taste of winning majors, and having someone taking away these from them is never likely to be warmly received.

The relationship between Novak Djokovic, left, and Rafael Nadal, right, has allegedly cooled since Djokovic's recent success.
The relationship between Novak Djokovic, left, and Rafael Nadal, right, has allegedly cooled since Djokovic's recent success.

One story that caught the eye in the past week was the claim from Novak Djokovic's father, Srdjan, that Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer had stopped being as nice to his boy as they had previously when he usurped them to become the world No 1 in 2011.

In the piece that appeared in the Serbian press, the elder Djokovic accused Federer of being rude to Djokovic as far back in 2006, and then said of Nadal: "He was [Novak's] best friend while [Nadal] was winning," Srdjan said. "When things changed, they were no longer friends. This is not sport."

I am not sure how Djokovic's father was hoping the pair would react to Novak's success, which includes winning five of the past 11 grand slams, but he is delusional if he genuinely expected them to be happy about it.

Federer and Nadal are highly competitive creatures, both addicted to the taste of winning majors, and having someone taking away these from them is never likely to be warmly received.

Of course, they have been civil and respectful, and there has been nothing on the court or in public that has shown that either player has a problem with Djokovic.

The world No 1 himself acknowledged last month that his relationship with childhood friend Andy Murray had changed now that they often are facing each other for tennis' top prizes.

The changing feelings to Djokovic are, in reality, almost mute testament to the great player he has become.

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