‘Don’t like it’: Novak Djokovic admits son uses Rafael Nadal trick to ‘intimidate’ him

Novak Djokovic has admitted that his son attempts to replicate rival Rafael Nadal’s forehand to “intimidate” him. The reigning Wimbledon champion’s seven-year-old son is “in love” with tennis and has already won a children’s tournament this year.

Djokovic is through to the Wimbledon quarter-final after narrowly beating the tournament’s curfew to beat Tim Van Rijthoven in four sets on Sunday night. And the top seed has been joined by his family this fortnight, with wife Jelena and children Stefan and Tara seen on the grounds with him as his kids received autographs from the likes of Venus Williams.

And Stefan has even been joining his father on the practice courts ahead of his matches, with some eagle-eyed observers noticing that the seven-year-old had been copying Nadal’s forehand swing. The world No 3 has now revealed that his son’s choice of technique was intentional.

“Yeah, no. He likes to do that,” he said when told Stefan’s swing was similar to Nadal’s. “He likes to intimidate me on the court with finishing the swing here. He knows I don’t like that particularly. I’m trying to teach him to finish the hand here, the swing, over the shoulder.”

The 20-time Major champion was trying to teach him a different method but said his son went between the two, and Djokovic revealed that Stefan’s interest in tennis had nothing to do with his influence. He continued: “He does that, but he does this as well. Whenever he does that he always laughs because he knows. We have this kind of funny moments on the court.

“I try to use every available opportunity, possibility, time to play with him because he’s right now fully immersed into tennis. Everything around tennis, how he can play, he’s watching, he’s analysing. We’re talking.” And the seven-year-old’s newfound love for tennis was so deep that it seemed he couldn’t stop asking his dad questions.
“Last night when I was putting him to bed, he was asking me questions: What is the difference between the racquet head sizes, the strings, why somebody is stringing less tension, all these basic questions that kids are very curious about,” Djokovic added.

“He’s in love with tennis right now. It was fully his own desire to really pursue tennis. So of course I’m going to be there for him. I never force him to be on the tennis court, but if he wants, I try to always make myself ready to be there and play with him.” While the 35-year-old wanted his son to try lots of “different sports”, he said he would help him become a pro if and when the time came.

“Of course I will support him in any possible way I can so that he can be professional tennis player if he intends to, if he really wants to,” Djokovic said. “But it’s too early to speak about it, to be honest. He’s not even eight years old. It’s important for me that we have a relationship as a father and son, first of all, primary, before anything else, and that he’s enjoying life, that he’s having fun.”

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