June 5, 2024

John McEnroe previously feared Novak Djokovic could endure similar struggles to Tiger Woods due to his marriage.


Djokovic was spotted in a heated exchange with wife Jelena during his French Open fourth-round victory over Francisco Cerundolo on Monday. The tennis star, who was battling a knee injury that has forced him to withdraw from the tournament, appeared to have an animated discussion with her after making a mistake.


“I had a small exchange of smiles with Jelena. She is my new psychologist,” he explained in a post-match interview. This isn’t the first time he’s come to her defence, reports the Express.


In 2017, American legend John McEnroe suggested Djokovic’s slump in performance could be related to the issues golf icon Tiger Woods’ had following his 2010 split from wife Ellen Nordegren – claiming he was dealing with “off-court issues with the family”.


McEnroe said: “The person that comes to mind immediately with Novak is not a tennis player, it’s actually a golfer: Tiger Woods. Woods had the issues with his wife and then he seemed to go completely off the rails.


“He’s never been even close to being the same player. So we’re starting to say: ‘Wait a minute, is this possible with him, Djokovic?'”


His comments certainly raised eyebrows, but Djokovic was quick to dismiss them and protect his family, telling reporters: “He’s very well known for his kind of bold comments and not really caring too much about being politically correct but saying whatever is on his mind.


“He has his right to say the things he wants to say. I don’t necessarily need to agree with that. But it’s his right.” Djokovic has admitted that being his partner comes with its challenges.


“She runs with the wolf,” Djokovic said in 2021. “It can be very stressful to run with the wolf. I know that she doesn’t enjoy it at all times. It’s kind of living on the edge with the wolf. I love her, she’s my great support.”


Novak Djokovic and John McEnroe

John McEnroe suggested Djokovic’s marriage could’ve been impacting his game

Jelena, a humanitarian and businesswoman, has spoken out herself about the downsides that come with her relationship. “We look at public figures and think that kind of publicity is okay,” she expressed in an interview with Vesti Online in 2020.


“But as time goes on, you lack anonymity, you lack the privacy to be able to do whatever you like at any time, in any situation. I try to resist all these expectations to always be myself and for Novak to be able to be himself.”


Despite the pressures, the couple remains united. Having begun their relationship in 2005, they are now on the cusp of celebrating a decade of marriage next month.

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