Novak Djokovic on Alex de Minaur: ‘I respect him as a rival, but he showed in 2022 what he thinks about me’

Alex de Minaur and Novak Djokovic handshake

Alex de Minaur felt the full wrath of Novak Djokovic’s tennis powers on Monday and after the match the 21-time Grand Slam winner took a swipe at the Australian.

The fourth-round Australian Open encounter on Rod Laver Arena turned into a lopsided affair as Djokovic produced his most dominant display yet at this year’s hard-court Grand Slam to secure a 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 victory.

During the on-court interview Djokovic was asked “why did you beat him so convincingly” and the reply was: “Because I wanted to.”

Then in the post-match press conference the nine-time Melbourne Park winner was quizzed about his relationship with De Minaur following the Australian’s comments last year when he was deported from the country over his unvaccinated status.

Back in 2022 De Minaur described Djokovic as an “incredible athlete”, but added: “Look, Australians have gone through a lot. There’s no secret about that. They’ve had it very tough. They’ve done a lot of work to protect themselves and their borders.

“When you’re coming in, as well as every other tennis player, if you wanted to come to the country, you had to be double vaccinated. It was up to him, his choices, his judgment. Here we are.”

Djokovic has made no secret of the fact that he has been unimpressed that some of his fellow professionals failed to support him when he his visa was withdrawn.

And he again made it clear on Monday.

“I respect him as a rival, a colleague, as I respect everyone,” he said. I have no problem contacting him, congratulating him, etc. But I don’t have any other relationship. I don’t have any communication with him. He showed in 2022 what he thinks about me.”

De Minaur took to Twitter on Tuesday to hit out at the media for “creating controversy”.

“I hate how media will always create controversy and takes things out of context to make a headline,” he wrote.

“Got outplayed and outclassed yesterday. How about we focus on the tennis for once. I will get back to work and improve you can count on that. Thank you Australia ❤️”

READ MORE: Angry Novak Djokovic hits back at claims he is faking Australian Open injury