Net gains: Novak's mum not breast pleased as he makes a right tit of himself

Novak Djokovic knew his mother would not approve. The performing seals and the Nineties boy band were not a problem and he might have got away with the woman rubbing oil into his naked torso, but he always thought the dance with tassles attached to his nipples might upset mum. The world No 4's bizarre TV commercial for Head rackets, featuring all of the above, has been a hit with tennis fans and on YouTube, but Djokovic admitted his mother "reacted quite strangely" to it. He said: "When she saw it she laughed. She liked the idea and she liked the fun we had making it, but she didn't like the nipple thing. At the time [we were making the commercial] I was thinking for an hour: 'Should I do it or not?' Because I could imagine my mother giving me comments." Would he consider doing something similar in future? "With the nipples I don't think so, but a commercial like that, why not?"

Welcome return for Henin

Justine Henin, who announced her retirement less than a fortnight before last year's French Open, was back at the scene of her former triumphs for the first time on Thursday. The four-time champion admitted she had been back in the gym following knee surgery in October and was planning to play exhibition matches, but quickly rejected the suggestion that she might emulate her fellow Belgian, Kim Clijsters, and make a comeback. "I don't need competition to be happy any more," she said. However, Henin might follow Clijsters' lead by starting a family. "I have a dream to have children, but one thing at a time," she said. "I'm going to celebrate my 27th birthday and I only finished my career a year ago. I need to feel comfortable with myself. I need to discover myself even more, to move on to the next step."

Tsonga's dressed to thrill

Players arrive for post-match press conferences in all sorts of garb, but Jo-Wilfried Tsonga trumped everyone when he turned up in a collar and tie after his first-round victory over fellow Frenchman Julien Benneteau. Had he done it for the media? "For you and also for me," he said. "I'm happy I played my first match. This is my first victory here. I celebrate this victory like this. In other sports when you come to a press conference, you have to respect, to comply with a dress code, so I thought that in tennis, too, we could show we have certain ethics. I believe it's important. We have beautiful tournaments, and we should show a bit of respect." His entrance might have been even more spectacular. "I wanted to come with a tuxedo, but my equipment provider didn't really want that," he said.

Early final joy for Nadal

Rafael Nadal, meanwhile, is notorious for keeping the media waiting, often turning up more than an hour after walking off court. On Wednesday evening, however, the world No 1 was answering questions within minutes of completing his second-round victory over Teimuraz Gabashvili. Might that have had something to do with television coverage of the Champions' League final starting shortly thereafter?

p.newman@independent.co.uk

Comments