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Refusing to Undermine Novak Djokovic, American Tennis Star’s Father Takes Sly Dig at Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal Fans With a Hard-Hitting Message

Published 09/20/2023, 7:14 AM EDT

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Djokovic versus Federer versus Nadal! Novak Djokovic has been on a determined mission to surpass the impressive records set by tennis legends Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. While he has crossed most of the records set by the two, he still isn’t regarded as the greatest tennis player ever.

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This conversation started with comments made by Serena Williams’ ex-coach, which was later continued by Chris Evert. However, what makes this conversation more intriguing is the unexpected input from George Opelka, the father of Reilly Opelka, a tennis player who’s currently not active in the ATP tour.

George Opelka shares opinion on Novak Djokovic


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As Novak Djokovic won his 24th Grand Slam title at the 2023 US Open, people in the tennis world had a lot to say. Rennae Stubbs, a former coach for Serena Williams, said Djokovic’s strong desire to beat Federer and Nadal comes from knowing he’s not as famous worldwide as they are.

Chris Evert, however, took a different stance. She emphasized, “To me, it doesn’t really matter where his motivation to win comes from; the fact is, he’s passing the other two and should be admired for his achievements and his records.”


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Unexpectedly, George Opelka, the father of Reilly Opelka, voiced his support for Djokovic in response to Evert’s tweet. Interestingly, Opelka didn’t just frame his tweet as praise for Novak Djokovic, but also thinly veiled it with shots taken at the 2/3rd of the “Big Three” of tennis, Federer and Nadal.

Opelka Sr. remarked, “Novak is just wired different. His legacy is still being written and it extends beyond popularity contests, record books and his trophy case. If the media wants to focus on popularity contests, be sure to check in with the locker room too.”

This to-and-fro about Novak Djokovic being the greatest in tennis has been going on for a while and many new voices have emerged in the last few days.

Hours After Taking a Stance for Novak Djokovic, Ardent Roger Federer Fan Chris Evert Takes a Major U-Turn With Latest Rafael Nadal Twist

Just a few days ago, former French tennis player Marion Bartoli, had a theory on why ‘Djoker’ isn’t as popular as he should be.

Marion Bartoli on Novak Djokovic’s tennis legacy


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Adding another voice to the conversation, former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli shared her thoughts on Djokovic’s Serbian heritage. She stated, “We know very well that if Novak was American, he’d have a statue in every city. The fact that he is Serbian means that he is not as publicized. Coming from a small Eastern European country, with a recent painful past, affects one’s popularity rating.”

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Regardless of the skewed popularity contest, Novak Djokovic’s journey in tennis has been truly extraordinary. His unmatched accomplishments, such as holding all four major titles at once and achieving a career Golden Masters twice, showcase his unparalleled skill on the court. While debates about popularity continue, Djokovic’s legacy extends beyond simply being liked. His name is firmly engraved in tennis history.


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What are your favorite Djokovic moments in tennis? Let us know in the comments below.

WATCH THIS STORY: ‘Thinking About Her Everyday’ – Despite Gruesome Schedule, Serena Williams’ Husband Alexis Ohanian’s Meticulous Struggle Revealed As He Strives To Be A Doting Father

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Written by:

Ansh Tandon


One take at a time

Ansh Tandon is a Tennis Writer at EssentiallySports. Ansh received his undergraduate degree in Journalism and Mass Communication and has been working in content creation for 2+ years. Before Ansh stepped into sports journalism, he was a professional tennis player, honing his skills in national level tournaments for the past 12 years as an active AITA athlete.
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Edited by:

Stefan Thomas