Novak Djokovic prefers to laugh off his image as an elite-level  tennis outlaw, at the Australian Open, with the Serb protected by his world No. 1 ranking and list of 24 Grand Slam titles.

The top seed chasing a record 11th trophy at Melbourne Park admits that he was always the outsider among the former “Big 3” of picture-perfect Swiss Roger Federer and Spanish assassin Rafael Nadal.

Those two enjoyed status as international fan favourites for decades while the 36-year-old Djokovic has always had a particularly fervent appeal to the Slavic audience.

The top seed could not care less – especially when he came onto the scene a decade and a half ago.:

“I guess I wasn’t the favorite type of guy to some of the top guys because I was not afraid to say that I want to be the best player in the world,” he said after reaching the Melbourne¬†fourth round to next”I guess

I wasn’t the favorite type of guy to some of the top guys because I was not afraid to say that I want to be the best player in the world,” he said after reaching the Melbourne fourth round to next play Adrian Mannarino.

“I was confident, and I felt like I had the game to back it up.

But he added: “I never, ever lacked respect. Respect is something that I was taught that needs to be present regardless of what is happening.”

The winner of the leading 22 Grand Slams said he always had friction with Federer.

“I know certainly Federer didn’t like the way I was behaving at the beginning (of the Djokovic career).  I think it didn’t sit with him well. I don’t know about the others.

“I guess I wasn’t the favourite type of guy.”

Djokovic said he won’t be changing anytime soon. 

“If I made a mistake, I would admit it and raise my hand, apologise or whatever. 

“But if the criticism comes with no particular reason then I would just keep going the direction that I chose, and that’s it. 

“I know that you can’t have everyone liking you, who you are, how you play, how you behave, what you talk about. 

“It’s normal. We’re all different. We are all different.”

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