Novak Djokovic quotes NBA legend Kobe Bryant after seeing data at French Open

Novak Djokovic jokes about his age at the Australian Open

Novak Djokovic has taken the news that he gets more negative comments on social media than any other male tennis player in his stride. The world No.3 is looking to win his third French Open title at Roland-Garros and is into the second round after a first-round win against American Aleksandar Kovacevic.

But recent research conducted by World Sports Network has confirmed that on the men’s tour, Djokovic received more negative comments on social media than any other player, with almost one in every five Tweets (15%) about the Serbian being negative.

The data also showed that 11 per cent of reactions on Facebook posts referred to the 22-time Grand Slam champion as “angry”.

But former world No.1 Djokovic was not surprised by the report findings and drew reference to a quote from NBA great Kobe Bryant that suggested he saw the negative comments as a back-handed compliment.

When ask about the findings by Serbian media (as per Tennis Majors), Djokovic said: “Does that surprise you? Personally, I’d be surprised if it were any different.

“As Kobe used to say, it’s a great quote: ‘Haters are a good problem to have. Nobody hates the good ones. They hate the great ones.’ I don’t hate anybody, I don’t nurture that kind of emotion and I don’t raise my kids that way. Hate is a horrendous emotion. If someone hates me, I think that says more about that person (than me).”

“I wouldn’t change anything in my life because I’ve done everything to the best of my knowledge and abilities in a particular moment. Yes, I’ve made a lot of mistakes, but at least I was authentic, I was being myself – I’d choose that every time compared to saying whatever pleases those that abide by the standards of the establishment.”

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Djokovic could be in hot water with authorities after writing a politically-motivated message on a French television camera following his first-round victory against Kovacevic.

With the Balkans currently in a high state of tension following clashes between the Serbian army and Kosovo’s Serb minority, Djokovic wrote: “Kosovo is the heart of Serbia! Stop violence.”

Djokovic followed up on his actions by posting a photograph of the message to his 12 million followers on Instagram.

Speaking about his controversial gesture after his match against Kovacevic, he said: “I feel an obligation to show support for our people and all of Serbia. I think many do not know what the future holds for Kosovo, but it is important to show harmony in situations like this. I hear there was a lot of criticism on social media. I don’t know if someone will punish me or something like that. But I would do it again. I am against wars and conflicts of any kind.”

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