Novak Djokovic spoke about his relationship with his compatriot Janko Tipsarevic who is retiring from professional tennis this week. Djokovic said: "I remember I was I think 11 years old, 10, 11, he was 14, and we played this practice match at the mountain where I grew up, and he actually grew up as well and his family very close to that mountain.
So we got to see each other when we were younger with our families. Our fathers were friends and knew each other well. And I remember he was toying with me. And at the time, obviously he's older, but at the time he was the best player in the world, you know.
Under 14, 16, 18, he was the best junior I think we ever had as a country. And he was, he was just different. He was coloring his hair, he had piercings, he had tattoos, and still does have a lot of tattoos. I think he was kind of a rebel always.
He wanted things his way. That's something I respect a lot and like about him, the fact that he's very authentic, very honest, very transparent. He tells you straight up, you know, what's going on or what's on his mind.
He doesn't really try to go around or please someone just because, you know, it's hard to swallow the truth. But he's a very direct guy. But loves the game. And he was one of the most passionate players to play for his country that I have ever seen."
Speaking about Tipsarevic's decision to retire after the Davis Cup Finals, Djokovic added, "His commitment to this team and the Davis Cup competition was tremendous. He deserves, he deserves every credit for that and.
Obviously, it's an emotional week for him, for us. We've been progressing as a team very well. He won his doubles yesterday, he's been playing now again with Viktor. And we're just glad that he has also decided to retire, you know, in the Davis Cup so we could actually all spend a nice week together.
And he's very successful already in transition to his next chapter. He's got a very successful tennis academy, Tipsarevic Tennis Academy, in several different locations in Serbia, in China, in Mexico. He's been spreading around the world with his philosophy, his concept, which I think is different from other academies that I have seen.
And you know, he's a long-time friend of mine. And, you know, I definitely wish him all the very best in the next chapters. We'll get to spend a lot of time. I think he's going to stay involved in tennis one way or another through his academy, through coaching as well, mentoring, and so forth. But it was a hell of a ride with him, for sure. We shared some amazing moments."