Djokovic calls Kyrgios 'good guy' despite disrespectful comments

Nick Kyrgios described world number one Novak Djokovic as desperate to be held in the same high esteem as Roger Federer.

Published: 20th June 2019 01:01 PM  |   Last Updated: 20th June 2019 01:01 PM   |  A+A-

Novak Djokovic (Photo | AP)

Novak Djokovic (Photo | AP)

By AFP

BELGRADE: Novak Djokovic shrugged off Nick Kyrgios's characterisation of him as "cringeworthy" and "having an obsession with wanting to be liked" by insisting the firebrand Australian is a "good guy".

Kyrgios, more often in the headlines for what he says off the court than what he achieves on it, described world number one Djokovic as desperate to be held in the same high esteem as Roger Federer.

"I feel he wants to be liked so much that I just can't stand him. This celebration thing (Djokovic's 'cup of love' gesture to the crowd) is so cringeworthy," Kyrgios told NCR Tennis Podcast.

"No matter how many Grand Slams he wins, he will never be the greatest to me. For me, Federer will always be the greatest of all time." Djokovic, however, said Kyrgios's remarks "don't keep him awake at night".

ALSO READ: Novak Djokovic tops ATP rankings ahead of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer

"I think that basically he is a good guy. I don't know why he said all those things. Does he want to attract attention, does he want to be different?," Djokovic told reporters in Belgrade ahead of defending his Wimbledon title next month.

"He wants apparently to be true, open, transparent, that is part of his character."

"I respect him. Does he show me respect to the extent that others do? No, he does not. That's just his way of communicating." Djokovic admitted that he had offered to help Kyrgios deal with fame and its various pitfalls.

"Five years ago I even offered him sort of help, in the sense that he could come to me if he needs anything, since at the beginning of my career I also experienced criticism against me.

"I was trying to respect everyone in life. I really don't understand his reasons, but I respect him."

WATCH |  Furious Nick Kyrgios smashes racket, throws chair onto court during Italian Open

Four-time Wimbledon champion Djokovic hasn't played since a controversial five-set loss to Dominic Thiem in the semi-finals at Roland Garros.

"Because of the very long clay-court season I decided to take a break before Wimbledon," the 15-time Grand Slam winner said after his practice session on Wednesday.

"I'm going to need to get used to the grass, and I have a couple of exhibition games lined up. Just two or three sets each so I can test my tactics and technique."

Djokovic, 32, was training with his friend and compatriot Viktor Troicki at an academy owned by former player Janko Tipsarevic and where Djokovic's five-year-old son Stefan was also knocking a tennis ball around.

Stay up to date on all the latest Tennis news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp