Jelena Dokic has shared a brilliant exchange with Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open after the Serbian star's victory in the third round. The World No.5 set up a showdown with Alex de Minaur in the fourth round after moving past Grigor Dimitrov 7-6 (9-7) 6-3 6-4 on Saturday night.
Djokovic was tested by Dimitrov on the court before being tested by Dokic in their post-match interview. In funny scenes, the Aussie commentator quizzed Djokovic about the first time they met before admitting she didn't remember him afterwards.
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"It's so nice to see you Jelena. I haven't seen you in ages," Djokovic beamed at the former World No.4. Dokic then asked: “Do you know when was the first time we saw each other here? Do you remember, when was the first time I actually met you here at the Australian Open?”
"Let's see if you remember..." 🤭 Jelena Dokic clean bowled Novak Djokovic with a cheeky question in an interview full of laughs! 😆
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— Wide World of Sports (@wwos) January 21, 2023
Djokovic looked rather confused before answering: “Uhh... 2007? 6? 5?” Dokic then replied: “2006! You won in 2008, and you came to me in 2006 and you said ‘hi I’m Novak Djokovic, do you remember me?’
“And I said to you ‘yes I do’ and I have to admit I didn’t, because we hit two years earlier, and I pretended I did. But I definitely know who you are now and I remember you now.”
Dokic's admission sparked laughter from Djokovic and the crowd on Rod Laver Arena. He then said: “To return the compliments to you - I was looking up to you.
“Obviously, you played for Australia, but you come from our region so we speak the same language. You were a big star at the time and I was really happy to play with you, so it’s great to see you again.”
Djokovic then drew more laughter when he said: "Let's try to talk about today's match a little bit?" The brilliant exchange delighted fans, with many commending Dokic and Djokovic on social media.
That was an awesome interview 👏👏
— JAKE 🇦🇺 (@IncrediblyBozza) January 21, 2023
This was a really good interview!
— Samuel82 (@Samuel849868807) January 21, 2023
It was awesome 👏🏻🤩
— L_Fawkes (@luizgabriel04) January 21, 2023
Great interview. Down to memory lane ❤️.
— Milan Prokic🇷🇸🇦🇺 (@TamoDole) January 21, 2023
Excellent interview! Jelena is a joy. So talented in whatever she does.
— leo (@leeosullivan8) January 21, 2023
Novak Djokovic sets up clash with Alex de Minaur
Djokovic's troublesome hamstring will get its biggest test when he takes on Aussie star de Minaur in the fourth round. De Minaur dominated Benjamin Bonzi on Saturday afternoon, prevailing 7-6 (7-0) 6-2 6-1 after breaking the Frenchman's resistance in a first-set tiebreaker.
The 22nd seed broke Bonzi seven times in the two-hour and eight-minute match, setting the stage for an intriguing Monday night showdown with a clearly hindered Djokovic. The Serbian star has been battling a hamstring complaint since winning the Adelaide International and revealed on Saturday night that he very nearly didn't play the Australian Open.
"Look, I'm not going to read into too much of that injury. Ultimately, he's one of the best players in the world and I'm just going to have to take it to him and not shy away from the occasion," de Minaur said.
"I'm very happy, I can't lie. Ultimately, if you want to go deep, and you want to really take it to the best players in the world, that's the game plan.
"I mean, you've got to step it up. It's no secret that against the best in the world you can't just put the ball in the court and wait for them to miss because that's just not going to happen."
Djokovic later revealed about his hamstring: “It kind of always starts well and then some movement happens and then it gets worse. Pills kick in, some hot cream and stuff, that works for a little bit, then it doesn’t, then works again. It’s really a rollercoaster, honestly.
“It requires a lot of energy that is being spent from my side mentally and physically, as well, to deal with the match with my opponent and also with a not-ideal physical state. But it is what it is. It’s kind of circumstances that you have to accept.”
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