Djoker in full flow
Novak Djokovic's eyes go wide. He raises his hands outwards, his eyebrows raised. “What, you guys are leaving already?” he says to the room full of journalists that were heading to the door.
For a second, everyone is quiet -- the journalists unsure of what to do, and the Serbian savouring the moment. Then everyone burst out in laughter as Djokovic points the way to the door. “None of you speak Serbian then?” he says, a parting shot to the English journalists who left at the end of the English questions segment.
With Djokovic you realise quickly that all that you have read about him is true. Not for nothing is he nicknamed the “Djoker.” The Serbian might look steely and play divinely, but he mixes up his talent with wit, charm and a healthy dose of cheek. With Djokovic, it is hard to get bored, even if it is in a half-full press conference after a second-round match of the Olympics at Wimbledon.
Djokovic has just decimated the American Andy Roddick. There really is no other word for the 6-2, 6-1 thrashing that the Serbian doled out to the thrice-losing finalist at Wimbledon on Tuesday. Djokovic's win took all of 54 minutes. He barely broke a sweat. “It was the perfect match,” admitted the Serbian.
But was it because Roddick was so bad or because he was so good?
“You have to ask him that,” says Djokovic with a poker face. There are titters again. You feel that with Djokovic, there often is.
“I am committed to enjoying the whole Wimbledon experience,” says Djokovic. “A big part of the Olympics for me is meeting all the other athletes.”
Djokovic admitted he was the one doing the chasing on a number of occasions.
“I am going to repeat what many have already said; I really want to meet Usain Bolt,” he says.
One athlete that Djokovic has already met is two-time NHL MVP Alex Ovechkin. They agreed to exchange a hockey stick for a racquet at the end of the Games. Djokovic hopes that these games will end in glory for him, after managing to secure bronze in 2008.
Would winning gold make up for the disappointment of losing Wimbledon?
“Disappointment?” says Djokovic. The question is rhetorical, for he provides the answer immediately. “I don't consider losing in the semifinals of Wimbledon to Roger Federer a disappointment,” he says.
“But winning gold in the Olympics for Serbia would be a fantastic memory. Playing here dressed in the colours of the national team, donning the jersey and living with the players and seeing just how much it means to them, you get caught up in the spirit of the Olympics,” he admits.
It's not a feeling Djokovic minds but it is not one that will stop him from achieving his other intended goal.
“The basics of any Olympic Games is to be alongside the best athletes in the world, to dine with them, to take pictures with them, to chat and exchange experiences,” Djokovic said. “And that is something that you can experience only every four years.”