Novak Djokovic’s mother, Dijana, admits she “also suffers” when her son is underappreciated simply because he plays in the “era of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal”.
Federer, Nadal and Djokovic will go down as three of the greatest tennis players of the Open Era as the trio have won 55 Grand Slam titles between them.
Federer and Nadal, though, are fans’ favourites and, although Djokovic does have a big follower base, he often finds himself playing second fiddle in terms of support when he comes up against his two main rivals.
When asked by GQ Magazine (India) if she feel the fans don’t appreciate him as much as Federer and Nadal, Dijana replied: “Yes. I can feel that. I feel it in Australia, New York, London. It’s [less] so in Paris. He stole their hearts when he started to speak French.
“Honestly I don’t know. He’s so nice, he’s polite, he works so hard. But people don’t appreciate it because he is playing tennis in the era of Federer and Nadal.
“When he was number three, it was okay, these guys are number one and two but when he became number one, probably they could not stand it. I don’t know. I also suffer. They respect his success and what he is doing. But if you put Federer against him they will cheer for Federer. In another way that gives him more strength, more power to beat him.”
Federer currently leads the list for players with the most Grand Slam titles with 20 while Djokovic is four adrift, but his mother is confident he will surpass the Swiss if he stays healthy.
“I think he will. I think it is on his mind. His goal is to be the best in the world. So if he wants that, he must win more slams,” she said.
“I just wish he is healthy. If he is healthy I can bet, I am sure, I believe he will do that.”
Kevin Palmer on Roger Federer’s biggest test this year.
Roger Federer sidelined for a few months.
Tennis Today features Djokovic, Federer and Nadal.
Nakashima’s dream run continues, but Kyrgios out.
Contrasting wins for Tsitsipas and Auger-Aliassime.
Simona Halep given a big scare in Dubai.
Serbia to get services of superstar.
What’s going on in tennis today?
Serb opens up on rivalries.