Novak Djokovic's father blasts 'disrespectful' Australian Open fans

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor

Novak Djokovic’s father has taken an extraordinary swipe at fans who cheered against his son in the Australian Open final.

Djokovic was at the centre of a major crowd controversy as he beat Dominic Thiem to claim his 17th grand slam title last week.

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As is often the case at grand slams, fans were clearly baying for Djokovic to lose despite him being the Australian Open’s greatest-ever champion.

Commentators were highly critical of the Australian Open crowd’s treatment of Djokovic - and now his father has added his voice to the furore.

“Seven-time Australian Open champion plays on centre court where he never lost any match, in the final, and he plays against some Austrian and they cheer for the Austrian, just imagine that disrespect to Novak,” Srdjan Djokovic said recently.

Novak Djokovic and father Srdjan in 2017. (Photo by Marko Metlas/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images)

“That’s just unbelievable but it’s the same way as in London, New York, it’s better in Paris, and the same in Madrid.

“Cheering against him only gives him additional energy and he will become the best player in history by every parameter.”

Srdjan also took a bizarre swipe at Rafael Nadal, criticising the way he handled losing to Djokovic at the ATP Cup in January.

“In Sydney, when Serbia won ATP Cup, there were many Serbians and Nadal couldn’t handle that and that happens to Novak for the past 15 years and he never complains,” he said.

Djokovic takes down Nadal as World No.1

Djokovic returned to No. 1 in the ATP rankings after winning his eighth Australian Open title, while Sofia Kenin's first grand slam trophy boosted her to a career-high No. 7 - and made her the leading American - on the WTA list.

Djokovic's 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Thiem in the final at Melbourne Park allowed the 32-year-old from Serbia to rise one spot and move back ahead of Nadal.

Nadal had overtaken Djokovic in November and at age 33, became the oldest year-end No. 1. But Nadal lost ranking points by getting eliminated in the Australian Open quarter-finals, by Thiem, one year after being the runner-up to Djokovic.

This is Djokovic's 277th week leading the ATP - the third-most in the history of the computerised rankings which began in the 1970s.

Roger Federer holds the record of 310, followed by Pete Sampras with 286.

Novak Djokovic celebrates with the Australian Open trophy. (Photo by James D. Morgan/Getty Images)

If Djokovic can stay at No. 1 until the first week of October, he will surpass Federer.

“That's one of the two biggest goals, for sure,” said Djokovic, who defeated Federer in the semi-finals at Melbourne Park.

“I mean, there is no secret in that.”

The other? Catching up to Federer and Nadal for most major championships. Federer leads the way with 20, with Nadal at 19 and Djokovic now at 17.

In the rankings, Nadal is No. 2, Federer remained at No. 3, and Thiem went up one place to No. 4, with US Open runner-up Daniil Medvedev sliding to No. 5.

The highest jump in the top 100 was by Tennys Sandgren, an American who went from 100th to 44th thanks to getting to the quarter-finals.

He pushed Federer to the brink in that round, holding seven match points, but was unable to convert one.

with AFP