Djokovic says his younger brothers have added pressure

by: Matt Cronin | October 08, 2015

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Novak Djokovic has two younger brothers, Marko and Djordje. (AP Photo)

Novak Djokovic says that his brother, Marko has stopped playing tennis and his youngest brother, Djordje is still deciding whether to play on tour, discussing the extra pressure on them due to their relation to the world No. 1.

With a wild card, Novak and Djordje Djokovic played doubles in Beijing and won their first-round match. Djordje, 20, is ranked 1,502 in singles. Marko, 24, never won a match at the ATP Tour but reached a high of No. 581 in 2012.

"My oldest brother stopped playing tennis," Novak said. "The youngest one is considering if he wants to continue or not. I'm actually glad we get a chance to play before he makes any decision.

"I tried always to be part of it. Obviously with lots of success that I had throughout all my career basically, juniors and then professional circuit, that added extra pressure on them and expectations, it was very difficult for them to handle such expectations."

All three Djokovic brothers are together in Beijing this week.

There are very few examples of successful brothers on tour. Andy Murray and his older Jamie are both leading solid tennis careers, but Andy has won two Grand Slams in singles while his older brother Jamie only plays doubles, reaching two major finals. Other brothers on tour include Mischa and Alexander Zverev (ranked No. 222 and No. 78, respectively), as well as Jurgen and Gerald Melzer (ranked No. 48 and No. 165, respectively). Perhaps the most famous brother duo on tour, Bob and Mike Bryan, have won 16 doubles Grand Slam titles and are ranked No. 1. 

"If you look at the history of all the successful athletes and their siblings that are younger than them, there are not many that manage to follow that success up and at least achieve something that is close to that," Novak Djokovic said. "It's very difficult for them to have to encounter these kind of mental challenges everywhere they go.

"On the other hand, they had to overcome much more throughout their careers than maybe most of their generation did. So I try to participate in their careers, but I figure that if I constantly talk about tennis, trying to improve their game, give them advices, that would maybe jeopardize our private relationship and brother relationship, which is truly what I want to have with them. I want to be able to speak freely with them, not only about tennis. Whenever they want to talk, we talk. We have a great relationship."

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