Novak Djokovic's ex-coach responds to Toni Nadal's comment that angered Serb's fans

Before the 2024 season started, Toni Nadal said Djokovic getting injured would help his nephew chances at the Australian Open.

by Dzevad Mesic
Novak Djokovic's ex-coach responds to Toni Nadal's comment that angered Serb's fans
© Getty Images Sport - Matthew Stockman

Former Novak Djokovic's coach and Serbian Davis Cup team captain Bogdan Obradovic has shut down any malicious intent behind Toni Nadal's comments from late 2023, when Rafael Nadal's uncle said they needed the Serb to get injured so the Spaniard could have bigger chances at the Australian Open. 

After Nadal confirmed that he would be able to kick off his comeback at the start of 2024 and play at the Australian Open, Uncle Toni was asked to rate his nephew's chances at Melbourne Park, where in 2022 he won his second Australian Open title. Answering the question, Nadal's uncle Toni joked that Nadal, Carlos Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev sustaining injuries would certainly help this nephew's chances. 

“He wants to play in the Australian Open, and I think he is [going good] because I have seen, these last days, him practicing. He has practiced much better,” Toni Nadal told the Majorca Daily Bulletin in late 2023.

“Now, what we need is, we need an injury – of [Carlos Alcaraz], of Novak Djokovic and maybe, [Daniil Medvedev]. We need that many... a lot of problems and then Rafa can play really good."

Obradovic: Toni Nadal meant no harm to Djokovic, it was a joke

At this past French Open, Djokovic sustained a knee injury and had to withdraw from his quarterfinal match and undergo surgery two days later. After Djokovic's injury and surgery, fans remembered that comment from Uncle Toni. 

But Obradovic - who has a good relationship with Djokovic - doesn't think that Uncle Toni was serious in his comments.

"I don't know if it was taken out of context if he wanted to be funny and missed everything. I look at Toni as our friend, I don't believe he meant any harm." Obradovic told a Catalan newspaper.

Novak Djokovic and Bogdan Obradovic
Novak Djokovic and Bogdan Obradovic © Getty Images Sport - Srdjan Stevanovic

Meanwhile, Djokovic is currently in Belgrade, where is recovering from his knee surgery. Djokovic hasn't yet made any announcements regarding his Wimbledon participation but it absolutely won't be easy for the Serb to be ready for The Championships, which starts on July 1st.

Novak Djokovic Toni Nadal Australian Open