Novak Djokovic’s father has made an extraordinary claim that his son was “attacked” as an 18-year-old by long-time rival Roger Federer and that the Swiss “is not such a good man”.
World No 1 Djokovic, 33, and 39-year-old Federer first faced each other on court in 2006, the Serb since then having moved to 18 Grand Slam titles while Federer and Rafael Nadal have 20 apiece.
But Srdjan Djokovic has spoken out after what he claims have been a string of “defamatory” media comments about his son although it was not clear why he had Federer in his sights.
“About 15 years ago Federer attacked my son when he was still young, he was 18 or 19 years old,” said Djokovic senior in an interview on Serbian TV reported by The Sun.
“I knew someone would be there who would be better than him. So I said that [Federer] was a great champion, the best at the time.
“But as much as he is a great champion, Federer is not such a good man. It is obvious that foreign media outlets do not have the best opinion of us and think that we are constantly bothering them.
“To tell you the truth, I do not want to be part of your twisted world. I’m sorry you don’t like Novak. I just tell you the truth. What should I do?
“They defame him so much and say so many disgusting things about him that it is unbelievable.
“My answers are much clearer compared to how they treat this great champion, that they won’t have again in this world.”
Meanwhile, Dan Evans was knocked out of the Sardegna Open after a three-set thriller against Lorenzo Musetti.
The British number one, given a bye to the last 16 in Cagliari, looked out of sorts in the first set but hit back in style in the second.
Evans then led 6-3 in the third-set tie-break but Italian teenager Musetti saved four match points before winning a marathon encounter 6-1, 1-6, 7-6 (8).