Jelena Dokic has admitted she isn't as brave as Rennae Stubbs after the Aussie asked Novak Djokovic about an outburst towards his entourage at the US Open on Monday (AEST). Djokovic cruised past Borna Gojo to seal his place in the quarter-finals, winning 6-2 7-5 6-4 in two hours and 26 minutes.
However the 23-time grand slam champion cut a frustrated figure at times and exploded in anger at his coach's box. Djokovic appeared frustrated that he wasn't putting Gojo away as easily as he would have liked and took it out on his entourage.
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Discussing the outburst after the match, Aussie commentator Stubbs wasn't afraid to ask Djokovic why he was so angry. "You seem to give your box a bit of a hard time," Stubbs said. "Do you want to tell us exactly what's going on there? Is that just frustration?" Djokovic kept his cards close to his chest, saying with a laugh: "They keep me sharp, I keep them sharp."
Novak Djokovic on giving his box a hard time at the US Open:
“They keep me sharp. I keep them sharp.” 😂 pic.twitter.com/b8QeoXrKV0
— The Tennis Letter (@TheTennisLetter) September 4, 2023
Jelena Dokic's funny response to Novak Djokovic question
Channel 9 commentators Dokic and Todd Woodbridge were rather taken aback at the manner in which Djokovic had addressed his box. Woodbridge expressed his surprise that someone of Djokovic's calibre and pedigree would need to lean so heavily on his coach's box after so many years on tour.
The Aussie great described Stubbs' question as "brave" and asked Dokic if she would have taken the same approach. She admitted: "I certainly won't be asking him anything like that at the Australian Open in January".
Dokic, who has become a much-loved commentator and interviewer, performs the same role as Stubbs when the Australian Open rolls around every year. The former World No.4 suggested Djokovic was simply looking for some motivation that his box might not have been offering.
Dokic found herself embroiled in a nasty situation at the Australian Open earlier this year when an interview with Djokovic went viral. Dokic and Djokovic shared a lovely personal exchange, but Serbian fans used the nice moment to take aim at the Aussie because of her Croatian heritage.
"It's so nice to see you Jelena. I haven't seen you in ages," Djokovic said before expressing his admiration for Dokic. “To return the compliments to you - I was looking up to you.
“Obviously, you played for Australia, but you come from our region so we speak the same language. You were a big star at the time and I was really happy to play with you, so it’s great to see you again.”
Novak Djokovic into US Open quarter-finals for 13th time
Djokovic will face American ninth seed Taylor Fritz for a place in the semis, chasing a record-extending 24th grand slam title. The 36-year-old made just 12 unforced errors on Monday compared to Gojo's 40, and broke his opponent five times throughout the match.
"I knew that Borna has a big game...he's a big shot player, serve and forehand, big weapons, and moves pretty well for a big guy," Djokovic after qualifying his 13th US Open quarter-final. "The key to match was to try and neutralise his serve. Just glad to get through in straight sets."
Fritz earlier joined Frances Tiafoe and Ben Shelton as American men in the quarter-finals - marking the first time since 2005 that three Americans have reached the last eight at their home grand slam. "That's amazing for the USTA and US Open," Djokovic said. "All of the guys — Fritz, Shelton and Tiafoe, big serves.
"(Fritz) has been playing some terrific tennis, particularly on home soil here in the States. Obviously the matches are going to get tougher from here onwards and I'm ready. It's going to be great."
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