Nina Stojanovic recalls 'ugly' comments she received after dubs with Novak Djokovic

Stojanovic recalls playing mixed doubles with Djokovic at the Tokyo Olympics.

by Dzevad Mesic
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Nina Stojanovic recalls 'ugly' comments she received after dubs with Novak Djokovic
© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Nina Stojanovic has very honestly addressed very nasty comments that were made about her during the Tokyo Olympics as the 27-year-old Serb admits she was hurt to hear people blaming her for Novak Djokovic's singles run not finishing as expected. 

In the summer of 2021, former world No. 81 Stojanovic earned a chance to make her Olympic debut in Tokyo and she gladly accepted to represent Serbia. That year, it was a double delight for Stojanovic because she also got a chance to play mixed doubles with Djokovic at the Tokyo Olympics.

In her team debut with Djokovic, Stojanovic actually did pretty well as she and the record 24-time Grand Slam won their opening two matches before losing to Elena Vesnina and Aslan Karatsev in a tight match. Despite the loss, Stojanovic and Djokovic still had a chance to fight for the bronze medal but it didn't happen after Djokovic lost his singles semifinal in a devastating way and it was agreed to pull out of the doubles bronze medal match.

"We see each other a lot less, people remember me after the Olympic Games as the girl who played doubles with Novak, because of which Novak gave up fighting for a medal, for third place. I primarily went for myself and my singles participation, then the doubles and then the mixed doubles. It was the icing on the cake for me," Stojanovic said on the Reketiranje podcast.

Nina Stojanovic and Novak Djokovic
Nina Stojanovic and Novak Djokovic© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill
 

Stojanovic: Djokovic asked me to play doubles, it wasn't nice after...

According to Stojanovic, it was Djokovic who wanted to play mixed doubles in Tokyo. And when the offer came her way, it was something she simply couldn't decline. 

"Of course I won't say not to Novak who asks me at Wimbledon, 'Nince, would you like to...' and I read the message and I say to him 'Wait until I think' (laughter) and he says, 'Nothing, think and call me' and I say 'Come on bro, are you for real,'" Stojanovic said.

"It is something that cannot be missed out on, playing with Novak was an indescribable experience. We have known each other for quite a long time even before the Games, we were in contact many times, we saw each other at Grand Slams, and even hung out a little outside of that. It's very nice, but what happened at the end is not nice at all and it hurts me, I can't forget something like that."

Early in the tournament, everything was going great. But then, Djokovic lost that singles match against Alexander Zverev from being up by a set and a break. Later, some blamed the defeat on Djokovic feeling tired and that's when Stojanovic's name started being mentioned in a negative context. 

"I don't want to say anything ugly, but it's not a nice feeling when you read later and come across more ugly statements claiming that he was tired in singles because of me. Someone has to make a story to be interesting, I don't want to give details, but I don't think..." Stojanovic said.

Nina Stojanovic and Novak Djokovic
Nina Stojanovic and Novak Djokovic© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill
 

Stojanovic on how it felt to play alongside Djokovic 

Stojanovic and Djokovic arrived in Tokyo without ever playing before but their run started with a win over Brazilian doubles specialists Lucia Stefanini and Marcelo Melo. In their next match, another big doubles name fell after the Serbian duo beat Germany's top mixed doubles duo Laura Siegemund and Kevin Krawietz. 

Ultimately, they didn't manage to win a medal despite reaching the semifinal but Stojanovic was pretty happy with how everything went. 

"How can I explain, I'm glad that Novak was himself when he played with me, when we were in front of the media he was happy that we were playing. Maybe he only played a mix with Ana on some grass - an exhibition, but I don't think he played with anyone. This was an official tournament and I was also honored by his interviews where he said that he does not get tired of it and that it is a real pleasure," Stojanovic said.

Nina Stojanovic and Novak Djokovic
Nina Stojanovic and Novak Djokovic© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill
 

After the Tokyo Olympics, Stojanovic battled four separate injuries and she played in just five tournaments in 2022 before missing the entire 2023 season. In May, the 27-year-old returned to tennis after being sidelined for a year and a half and earlier this month she won an ITF tournament in Kursumlijska Banja. 

In the end of her interview, Stojanovic revealed that Djokovic congratulated on her win but also shared that they haven't yet spoken about their Tokyo Olympics run.

"I think that conversation will happen once and I hope it will happen, we heard from each other after that, but we never specifically talked about it. He almost congratulated me on the tournament, he follows what's happening to me and that, that's very nice of him, but there are simply things that I don't forget," Stojanovic revealed.

Nina Stojanovic Novak Djokovic Olympics
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