Australian Open 2023 | Jelena Dokic on court interview with Novak Djokovic, crowd in stitches

After his comprehensive win over Grigor Dimitrov on Saturday night, Novak Djokovic was interviewed on the court by Nine commentator Jelena Dokic, who he first met nearly two decades ago.

“I haven’t seen you in ages,” he said.

When pushed by the Aussie legend, he correctly guessed that they spoke in 2006 – two years before he won the Australian Open for the first time, and two years after they had a practice hit together.

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That’s when Dokic made a hilarious confession.

“You came to me in 2006, and you said ‘hi I’m Novak Djokovic, do you remember me?’ And I said to you ‘yes I do’, and I have to admit, I didn’t. We hit two years earlier – I pretended I did, but I definitely know who you are now!”

That brought loud applause from the crowd, as did what Djokovic said next.

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“I was looking up to you, obviously. You played for Australia but you came from our region, we speak the same language and you were a big star at the time,” said the Serbian.

“I was really happy to play with you, it’s great to see you again.”

“The pleasure was all mine,” she replied.

Djokovic’s good natured on-court interview followed another ruthless performance on Rod Laver Arena, with the nine-time Australian Open dispelling concerns over his hamstring injury.

Djokovic collapses after epic tiebreak win

After being pushed to a tiebreak in the first set by Dimitrov, Djokovic ran away with it to conserve his body with a valuable straight sets victory, finishing off the Bulgarian 7-6 (9-7), 6-3, 6-4.

He said his hamstring had felt good at the start of the match but had got worse as the match wore on, even if the scoreline didn’t reflect that comment.

“Yeah, pills kick in, some hot cream and stuff. That works for a little bit, then it doesn’t, then works again. It’s really a rollercoaster, honestly,” Djokovic said.

“It requires a lot of energy that is being spent from my side mentally and physically as well, to deal with the match and my opponent and also with not ideal physical state.”

Djokovic faces Australian star Alex de Minaur in the fourth round and said he expected a “big challenge”. The pair have never played each other before.

“I think we don’t know much about each other’s games, but still we know each other pretty well because he’s been around for quite a few years. I’ve watched him play numerous times. I know how he plays,” Djokovic added.

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