Nikola “Niki” Pilic has resigned as Tournament Director of the new Serbia Open, reportedly because of conflicts with Novak Djokovic’s father, Srdjan Djokovic. Novak and his family are part owners of the tournament and Novak’s uncle, Goran, even serves as its Co-Director (more on him later.) Novak has close ties with Pilic, who trained him in Germany when Novak was 12 years old.
Here’s the scoop from Serbian newsdaily Blic (click here for the original and forgive the Google translation):
3/26/09: Pilic resigns because of Srdjan Djoković
Nikola Pilić, advisor to the Serbian Davis Cup team, resigned as one of the tournament directors of the Serbia Open, which will be held from May 2 to 10 in Belgrade.
Pilic, known tennis expert and owner of a tennis academy in Munich, decided he no longer wanted be a part of the first ATP tournament (450,000 dollars) in Serbia because of Srdjan Djoković.
“He (Srdjan Djoković) held a news conference a few weeks ago in Belgrade without consulting with me, and said things that he’s not eligble to say. I then called the ATP and asked them to release me as Acting Director of the tournament.” Nikola Pilić told the Evening Gazette.
Pilić’s conflict with Srdjan Djoković should not have consequences for his role with the Serbian Davis Cup team, because his professional commitments are to Novak, not his father.
Oh my, does this really surprise anyone? Let’s just say that Srdjan’s known for his vehement support of his son’s career. He famously drove to a Serbian radio station last May, while Novak was playing Nadal in the Hamburg semis, to yell at the commentators for being too complimentary to the Spaniard (click here.) And who called the station to rant, as well? Goran Djokovic, Novak’s uncle and Co-Director of the Serbia Open.
This is getting out of conflict-of-interest territory (click here) and into an HBO mini-series. (And you know who’s demanding an Executive Producer credit.)
No wonder poor Nole’s been less-than-his-best, lately. Why doesn’t his dad realize that his antics are hurting his son’s reputation – and maybe even his on-court performance?
UPDATE! UPDATE! Novak actually called to apologize to Pilic for his nutty Dad: click here for more.
Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images