Poor Novak Djokovic, you would need a heart of stone to not feel just a little bit sorry for him after some comments he has made about his relationship with his fellow elite-level competitors ahead of the Australian Open.
The first Grand Slam of the year is fast approaching in Melbourne and the hype, as always, is about the rivalries between the top players; namely Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
However, the world no.1 has, in some ways, dispelled any bitterness as he claimed that deep down he just wants them all to be friends.
They travel around the world together, they all have mega amounts of money and they all have the same job - for most that would strike up the dream friendship. Unfortunately for the tennis stars, they are always competing against the other to be the top dog, and it gets in the way of any friendships.
Despite that, Djokovic has given an interview in Australia where he has claimed that he wishes they could be better pals: “With some players I do (see them out of working hours) but unfortunately with the top players, some say, ‘Not possible,’ but I think it can be possible that we get to go on dinners," he said to a local television station.
“But I understand this kind of mindset that if you are great rivals there is a sense of competition that makes it hard to be open and friendly and go out for dinner or holiday trips.
“The time might come for us after we are done with our active careers but we have to consider the fact I have seen Nadal, Federer, Murray, more than my own mother over the past five, six years so that’s why I consider them very close in my life.”
Luckily he has a wife and kid now; he probably doesn't have time for friends with all that and the focus on remaining a world-class tennis star.
Perhaps the reason why the Serbian has said these things is because he's currently the top dog. Nobody is getting close to him at the moment. Nadal is struggling to get back to his former levels and Federer suffered at the hands of the world no.1 before the end of the season.
For that reason alone, Djokovic can expect no happy trips to Nandos with his fellow multiple major winners while they're in Australia - unless he's buying of course - though, to be fair, I'm not even sure if they would have a Nandos Down-Under (let us know Aussie readers).
The heat will most certainly be on for the next few weeks. Djokovic is usually the man when it comes to the Melbourne Major - four of his seven majors have come there. It's no surprise that he will be the top seed.
However, with that being said, there is no reason why somebody else can dislodge Serb. Last year Stanislas Wawrinka won his maiden title, while Nadal and Federer will be sick of coming second-best in Oz.
Even away from the sual suspects, there are a whole host of up-and-coming players who are looking to carve their names into the sport's record books - they certainly won't have time to be friendly. It's dog-eat-dog.
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