After his quarterfinal victory over Milos Raonic at Australian Open 2020, Novak Djokovic was holding back his tears in Melbourne. The Serb mourned over the sudden demise of Kobe Bryant and his daughter in the chopper crash in California, and while speaking to John McEnroe on the Rod Laver Arena tears rolled down his cheek.
“He was one of the greatest athletes of all time. I had the fortune to have a personal relationship with him over the last 10 years,” an emotional Novak addressed John. The 16-time Grand Slam champion elaborated upon the kind of relationship they shared. His passing away is personally a huge loss to Novak.
“When I needed some advice, some support, he was there for me. He was my mentor, my friend. It’s heartbreaking to see & to hear what’s happened to him and his daughter. I don’t know what to say, caught us by surprise. He inspired many people from around the world. When I needed support, he was there for me,” he lamented.
— ATP Tour (@atptour) January 28, 2020
Novak Djokovic pays tribute to Bryant and his daughter
— doublefault28 (@doublefault28) January 28, 2020
Just a day before Bryant’s demise, Djokovic disclosed about their harmonious relationship at Australian Open 2020. “I’m very grateful to him for being there for me, for being very supportive. I love Kobe, who doesn’t? He’s an amazing guy and one of the best basketball players and athletes of all-time,” Novak said.
“I want to apologize to Milos” – Djokovic
In the quarterfinal match, Djokovic availed an off-court medical timeout for fixing his lenses as he couldn’t see properly in the midst of the match. Later, he apologized for taking some time off the court.
“I want to apologize to Milos again because it’s definitely not something you see often, that a player goes [off court]. It wasn’t intentional or tactical, it was just something I had to do. Those few games I really couldn’t see much,” the World Number two Novak said.
Up next the Serbian legend Novak Djokovic sets up the clash against the Swiss maestro Roger Federer in the semi-finals of Australian Open 2020. The duo will be meeting each other for the 50th time in their careers and Novak has an upper-hand of three matches in their head to head meetings.