MELBOURNE: Five-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic on Sunday backed Andy Murray’s plan to quit the tournament if his wife goes into labor, saying he would do the same thing himself.
World number two Murray has made it clear he will not hesitate to pull out and dash home to be with wife Kim Sears for the birth of their first child, even if it meant robbing the event of its men’s final.
Djokovic, who is seeded to meet the Scot in the January 31 decider if all goes to schedule, said it was a very personal decision and one he supported.
“Considering his situation, of course I support and I agree with his decision. I would do the same,” said Djokovic, who became a father himself for the first time 15 months ago.
“I understand the position that he’s in.”
Djokovic’s wife Jelena gave birth to their first child, Stefan, in 2014.
He was in China ahead of the birth and was ready to pack up and leave if necessary.
“I was not in the Grand Slam. I was still kind of in a dilemma whether my wife would go into labor or not. I was actually in China. I didn’t know actually whether it was going to happen or not. I was ready to pack my bags and go,” he said.
“Again, it’s a very sensitive subject to talk about. It’s very individual. You got to respect the decision of an individual, especially of somebody who is in his position.
“Of course, he’s one of the favorites to win this trophy. He’s been playing really well last season. But yet again, he understands that there are some other priorities in life.
“I’m glad he’s thinking that way. I wish his wife and him all the best.”
Two-time Grand Slam-winner Murray has reached four of the last six finals at Melbourne Park, although he is yet to lift the trophy.
If he were to pull out of the final, the title would go to his opponent and the Australian Open would miss its showpiece moment usually watched by millions of viewers around the world.