Novak Djokovic: McEnroe 'has a right to say' what he wants

LONDON -- Novak Djokovic on Thursday brushed off comments from John McEnroe about Djokovic's personal life and a comparison to Tiger Woods.

While speaking during BBC's Wimbledon coverage on Wednesday, McEnroe drew a comparison to Woods while discussing the struggles of Djokovic, who has not won a Grand Slam since simultaneously holding all four titles following last year's French Open.

McEnroe said Djokovic "had some off-court issues with the family" and said "that's going to throw you."

"The person that comes to mind immediately with Novak is not a tennis player, it's actually a golfer: Tiger Woods," McEnroe said. "... [Woods] had the issues with his wife, and then he seemed to go completely off the rails and has never been even close to being the same player.

"So we're starting to say: 'Wait a minute, is this possible with [Djokovic]?'"

On Thursday, Djokovic was asked about McEnroe's comparison.

"Yeah, I have heard about it today," said Djokovic, who beat Adam Pavlasek in straight sets to advance to the third round of Wimbledon. "Look, you know, John has a complete right to say -- anybody, really, in the world -- has a right to say what they want, and I respect that right. Especially coming from John, because he's someone that has earned that right because of who he is and what he has meant to the sport and what he still is representing as a former player and still being very active on the tour.

"He's very well-known for his kind of bold comments and not really caring too much about being politically correct, but saying whatever is on his mind. That's all I can say. I really don't take anything personal."

Djokovic married his wife, Jelena, in 2014. They have a son, Stefan, who will turn 3 in October. The couple is expecting their second child later this year.

Since winning the 2016 French Open, Djokovic has fallen on hard times in big events:

• He lost in the third round at Wimbledon last summer to snap a streak of 28 consecutive major quarterfinal appearances;

• He suffered a first-round exit at the hands of Juan Martin del Potro -- "one of the toughest losses in my life" -- at the Rio Olympics;

• He lost to Stan Wawrinka in the US Open final;

• He lost to No. 117 Denis Istomin in the second round of the Australian Open after entering that match with a 33-0 mark in Grand Slam events against players outside the top 100;

• He dropped the first set 6-0 in his quarterfinal match with Dominic Thiem at this year's French Open;

• He surrendered the No. 1 ranking after the Paris Masters, snapping a streak of 122 straight weeks atop the list.

While his struggles on the court are clear for everyone to see, Djokovic wasn't sure why McEnroe would compare his off-court issues with that of Woods, who has never recovered from his much-publicized infidelity scandal and divorce in 2009.

"I don't know where was the basis or if he was just maybe making a comparison," Djokovic said. "I'm not really sure. When I was warming up for my first match on the Centre Court [on Tuesday], he was giving an intro, talking to the camera, and I served and the serve went straight at him as I was playing.

"I don't know. Maybe it's because of that. Maybe he thought it wasn't a joke, and I was joking; I was trying to hit him. I don't know. I take it very lightly. I don't think there was any kind of really wrong intention from his side toward me."