‘Kobe was my mentor, my friend’

Novak Djokovic pays an emotional tribute to his “friend and mentor” Kobe Bryant, who was killed in a helicopter crash in Los Angeles on Sunday

Last Updated: 28/01/20 12:21pm

Novak Djokovic paid an emotional tribute to Kobe Bryant after reaching the Australian Open semi-finals

Novak Djokovic paid an emotional tribute to Kobe Bryant after reaching the Australian Open semi-finals

Novak Djokovic broke down as he paid tribute to basketball great Kobe Bryant following his Australian Open quarter-final victory on Tuesday.

Djokovic continued his march through the draw with a straight-sets victory over Milos Raonic.

Djokovic was good friends with the basketball star, who was killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday, and he came out for the match on Rod Laver Arena wearing a jacket bearing the initials ‘KB’, Bryant’s numbers eight and 24 and a heart.

Nick Kyrgios had spoken after his defeat by Rafael Nadal on Monday about being inspired by Bryant, and Djokovic certainly looked like a man on a mission in a 6-4 6-3 7-6 (7-1) victory.

Djokovic left a message for Bryant and his daughter who both died in a helicopter crash in Los Angeles on Sunday

Djokovic left a message for Bryant and his daughter who both died in a helicopter crash in Los Angeles on Sunday

He was my mentor, my friend, it’s just heartbreaking to see what has happened to him and his daughter. It’s unbelievable.

Novak Djokovic on Kobe Bryant

The defending champion broke down as he spoke about Bryant afterwards, saying: “I don’t know what we could say. It really caught us by surprise.

“He was one of the greatest athletes of all time, he inspired myself and many other people around the world. I had that fortune to have a personal relationship with him over the last 10 years.

“When I needed some advice and support, he was there for me. He was my mentor, my friend, it’s just heartbreaking to see what has happened to him and his daughter. It’s unbelievable.”

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Grant Hill, Candace Parker and Grant Hill discuss the legacy of Kobe Bryant and what the former Los Angeles Lakers icon meant to them

Grant Hill, Candace Parker and Grant Hill discuss the legacy of Kobe Bryant and what the former Los Angeles Lakers icon meant to them

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Source : Sky Sports