Nole opens up to Matt Cronin. Some choice excerpts:
"I'm in the transition," Djokovic told FOXSports.com. "It's not easy because I'm very emotional. Some things really hurt me, and maybe I express myself a little bit too much — people didn't get used to that. But at the end of the day, you sit and think to yourself, 'I've reacted the way I felt that's right.' Maybe it's wrong, but you learn from your mistakes. That's why life is testing us all the time."
Before his match against Djokovic, Roddick had been asked about his foe's latest injury. By that time, Djokovic had developed a reputation for retiring too frequently, and the American wondered in a joking manner if his foe might have the "bird flu or SARS."
The comments received tremendous publicity and got right back to Djokovic, who was enraged. After he won the quarterfinal, he went right at the crowd and boos reigned down upon him.
"Maybe the experience from the U.S. Open with Andy was something that I really didn't wish for and really didn't look for," Djokovic said. "But it hurt me. His comments hurt me in that moment, and it was a misunderstanding. Unfortunately, there was a lot at stake; it was the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam, lot of emotions, lot of frustrations going on.
"At the end of the day, maybe if you could turn back things, maybe you wouldn't do something like that, but I just felt emotion in that moment."
Then there were the impersonations, the wildly entertaining, near perfect ones that had the crowds in stitches. But some top players weren't pleased, especially Federer. And when Roger talks, people listen.
"It's not just players," Djokovic said. "It was a lot of speculation, and I just didn't like the fact that people thought I'm doing that to make fun of somebody. ... I don't blame anybody, but it's all in the circle of positive, and laughing and smiling and enjoying life.
"I don't want to do it more because I don't want to create unbalance and turn the people against me for no reason. I'm really in a good relationship with most of the players on tour. I'm an honest guy, I open up and I say what I need to say. And this is the philosophy of my life — be what you are."
I can pretty much point to Fed's reaction to Nole's impersonations as being the moment when my Fed indifference turned to Fed annoyance. But whatever. I hope that Nole gets his head right and gets his life back in balance. I'm a little bummed to see Mama and Papa in Miami, though. I wish they would all leave their son alone and let him just enjoy his tennis and his career without their distractions.