Melbourne Diary: Novak – The Movie


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The Independent Online

There were times in the past when Novak Djokovic's appetite for a battle was called into question, but the fighting qualities the Serb showed in winning three Grand Slam titles last year and becoming world No 1 have been recognised in Hollywood. Djokovic is making his screen debut in The Expendables 2, which is due to be released later this year.

Written by Sylvester Stallone, who also stars in it alongside Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jean-Claude Van Damme, the film, according to Djokovic, is "all about fighting". As for his own role, the Australian Open champion was less forthcoming. "I'm sorry, I can't say anything about the role," he said. "They've forbidden me. But it's a very interesting one."

A load of screaming Azzers

Australian crowds tend not to hide their feelings, as Victoria Azarenka has discovered here this week. The world No 3 has been given a hard time by some spectators because of her shrieking whenever she hits a ball. Some in the crowd have even been mimicking her wails. "I have no problem with that at all, actually," Azarenka said. "It doesn't really bother me." She added: "Of course I hear it. I'm not deaf. But it's fine for me. I respect the crowd, whatever they do. I try to just be focused on my game."

So hot, it's beautiful

Andy Murray has been confirmed as world No 4 – in a poll of this year's "hottest players" in Melbourne's Herald Sun newspaper. Andy Roddick topped the men's list, ahead of the young Australian player Bernard Tomic, Rafael Nadal and Murray. Ana Ivanovic, who has revived her relationship with the Australian golfer Adam Scott, leads the women's section from Maria Sharapova, Caroline Wozniacki and Daniela Hantuchova.

Yankees not so dandy

American men's tennis reached a new low here this week. John Isner's defeat yesterday left the United States without a man in the last 16 of the tournament for the first time for 39 years. "That's not a good effort from the Americans this tournament," Isner admitted. "It's very ugly, to be honest, to have no one in the round of 16. We've got to try to rectify that next time the big tournaments roll around." Serena Williams and Vania King were due to keep the American flag flying in the women's singles today.

A smash hit with Connors

Marcos Baghdatis has won a new admirer after his racket-smashing session earlier this week. Jimmy Connors, who could throw a tantrum or two himself, wrote on Twitter: "Marcos Baghdatis is my new hero! Finally some emotion out there!"

No medals for Marion

Marion Bartoli, the world No 9, does not expect to play in the Olympics at Wimbledon this summer because of a long-running dispute over coaching with the French tennis federation.

Bartoli has not been playing in France's Fed Cup team because the federation will not allow her father to coach her during ties. One of the conditions for acceptance into the Olympics is that players have to make themselves available to play for their country.

"It's really heartbreaking for me," Bartoli said. "I really do feel I have a chance to make a medal over there and especially at Wimbledon, on grass, where I had so much success in the past."