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Novak Djokovic reveals ‘special relationship’ with a tree in Royal Botanic Gardens

Novak Djokovic reveals ‘special relationship’ with a tree in Royal Botanic Gardens

Novak Djokovic has a “special relationship” with a Melbourne tree, the 10-time Australian Open champion says.

Melbourne has been the site of the Serbian tennis legend’s most successful grand slam over his extraordinary career, where he has effectively monopolised the tournament since his first win back in 2008.

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Novak Djokovic reveals special relationship with a tree.

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In the 16 years since then, the 36-year-old has lost just five times at Melbourne Park, including a current streak of 30-straight wins at the season-opening grand slam, the latest being a four-set win over Aussie Alexei Popyrin.

It’s no surprise, then, that Melbourne holds a special place in Djokovic’s heart.

But it’s not just the Melbourne Park precinct the world No.1 loves, and it’s not just the city’s tennis with which he has an affinity — he also loves its nature.

Specifically: trees.

Even more specifically: a particular tree within Melbourne’s iconic Royal Botanic Gardens.

Novak Djokovic celebrates his 2020 Australian Open in the Botanic Gardens. Credit: Getty

“It is true; there is one particular tree that I have been having special relationship with, let’s say, in the last 15 years,” Djokovic said after beating Popyrin on Wednesday night.

“I love every corner of Botanical Gardens, I think it’s an incredible treasure for Melbourne to have such a beautiful park and nature in the middle of the city.”

Djokovic wouldn’t go as far to reveal exactly which tree it is though, keeping that secret safe with himself.

“That particular tree, I cannot reveal which one,” he said with a smile.

“I try to keep it discreet for myself when I am there to have my own time.

“I just like to connect, ground myself, and connect with that old friend.

“You know, it’s just… I got connected with that tree. I just liked it and I liked its roots and the trunk and branches and everything.

“I started climbing it years ago, and that’s it, I have a connection.”

Novak Djokovic was happy to vent his anger in the direction of his heckler at the Australian Open. Credit: AAP

Back on the court, Djokovic overcame an almighty scare from Popyrin and a heated confrontation with a heckler to reach the Australian Open third round and keep his bid for a record 25th overall slam alive.

Precocious local talent Popyrin threatened to scupper Djokovic’s attempt to surpass Margaret Court when he had four set points in the third set in Wednesday’s match, but the champion saved them all on his way to a 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 win.

Djokovic was combative in front of a pro-Popyrin crowd at Rod Laver Arena, including a confrontation with the heckler at 2-2 in the fourth set.

The Serbian star took issue with a comment from a spectator, approaching the stands to tell him to “come here and say it to my face”.

When asked what the heckler said, Djokovic quipped: “I mean, you don’t want to know.

“There was a lot of things that were being told to me on the court, particularly from that corner, and the same side the other corner.

“I was tolerating it for most of the match. At one point, I had enough, and I asked him whether he wants to come down and tell it to my face.

“When you confront somebody, unfortunately for him, he didn’t have the courage to come down. That’s what I was asking him.

“If you have courage, if you’re such a tough man, tough guy, come down and tell it to my face, and let’s have a discussion about it.

“He was apologising from far away. That’s all it is.”

With AAP

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