WATCH: ‘He was there for me,’ says Novak Djokovic in emotional tribute to Kobe Bryant
Novak Djokovic broke down while paying tribute to the late Kobe Bryant, saying the NBA great was “there for him” when he needed advice and support.
Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven other people died in a helicopter crash in California on Sunday.
Djokovic posted an Instagram tribute to the former Los Angeles Lakers star on Monday.
“My heart truly mourns over the news today,” he wrote. “Kobe was a great mentor and friend.”
After his quarter-final clash against Milos Raonic on Rod Laver Arena on Tuesday, the 16-time Grand Slam winner was asked about Bryant and described him as “one of the greatest athletes of all time”.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 28, 2020
“I don’t know what we could say. It really caught us by surprise,” he said during his on-court interview.
“He was one of the greatest athletes of all time, he inspired myself and many other people around the world. I had that fortune to have a personal relationship with him over the last 10 years.
“When I needed some advice and support, he was there for me. He was my mentor, my friend, it’s just heartbreaking to see what has happened to him and his daughter. It’s unbelievable.”
WATCH: Daniil Medvedev serves underarm, destroys his racket en route to stormy French Open exit
Another tough day at Roland Garros for Daniil Medvedev.
Andy Murray’s former coaches hit back at Mats Wilander after he urges the Scot to consider his future
Andy Murray backed by two of his former mentors.
‘There’s probably one word – disappointing,’ says Liam Broady after French Open exit
Heather Watson is left to fly the British flag.
Rafael Nadal starts ‘different Roland Garros’ with solid win to extend French Open record to 94-2
Nadal starts quest for Grand Slam No 20 with solid win.
Serena Williams after first-round win: ‘I just need to play with more confidence, like I’m Serena’
Williams pushed to a tie-break in the first set.
Liam Broady’s French Open main draw debut ends in opening-round defeat
Broady came through qualifying for first time at a major.
No US Open hangover for Dominic Thiem as he makes impressive French Open start
US Open champ Dominic Thiem continues winning run.
‘I will do everything I can to keep Roger Federer No 1,’ jokes Dominic Thiem
Thiem eyeing a few more Grand Slam titles.
Dan Evans on the balls being used at the 2020 French Open: ‘You wouldn’t give to a dog to chew’
Dan Evans clearly not a fan of the French Open balls.
Miserable day for British hopes at gloomy French Open as Dan Evans, Andy Murray, Johanna Konta exit
Three British players lost on day one at Roland Garros.