Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have always shared a healthy rivalry as they fight to be the best player of the current generation. The Swiss star is widely regarded as the greatest to ever play the game, but his Grand Slam records are almost certain to come under threat from the latter two in the coming seasons.
Djokovic has been kind of the outsider when it comes to the big three with Federer and Nadal being more popular among the fans, while the duo also share a good relationship off the court. Djokovic, on the other hand, is always the third favourite among the fans when it comes to the big three and he has addressed that.
However, in a rare outburst from a family member, Djokovic's father has got involved in the rivalry and questioned Federer's 'humanity' and believes the Swiss ace has always been jealous of the reigning world no.1. Srdan Djokovic insists that it all began when Djokovic made a his breakthrough and it stemmed from Federer knowing that the Serbian was a better talent than him.
"Federer has been jealous of Novak from the moment he made his breakthrough because he knew that my son was better than him and that he would tower over him," Srdan told Serbian newspaper Novosti, as quoted on the Daily Express. "Federer is an outstanding tennis player, but I couldn't say that about his humanity."
Djokovic addresses Federer, Nadal favoritism
Meanwhile, Djokovic has accepted the fact that when he faces either Federer or Nadal at a Grand Slam, they will get most of the support from the fans. He is not willing to stir up further negativity by criticizing the fans that do not root for him, as he is aware that their lack of support does not mean they hate him.
He also went on to praise both his rivals Federer and Nadal and believes the support they garner is due to their contribution to the game of tennis on and off the court. The trio are likely to continue their battle on the court for at least few more seasons before Federer, the oldest of the three decides to hang up his racket.
"I don't want to stir up negative emotions — hatred and anger."I have no ill feelings for people who don't support me. Having said that, I am not proud of my occasional reactions on the court as my passion gets the better of my self-control at times," Djokovic said.
"I will always admit that I do make mistakes and I always try to learn from them. You reap what you sow and it is never my intention to generate bad energy. If I invest my energy in those stories that I am not loved, that story will keep growing and why would I want that?
"Of course you always want for people to cheer for me, but I don't want that negativity. Those are not the kind of flowers that I want to grow in my garden," he added. "It is a fact that most fans support Federer and Nadal against me but that's due to what they represent in world tennis.
"It doesn't mean that fans hate me and it certainly doesn't mean that I need to turn Serbia against the rest of the world just because fewer people support me in Grand Slam finals."
However, Djokovic's father's comments are unlikely to go down well with Federer's supporters and there is certainly going to be a backlash. The Swiss ace is likely to be asked his opinion with regards to Srdan's comments when he makes his next tournament appearance.