For someone considered to be one of the greatest male tennis players in the Open Era, we expect a lot more. Novak Djokovic. Yes, he can play tennis. Yes, he’s one of the best returners in the game’s history. But no, nobody likes you. Unless you’re Serbian of course, then they somehow feel obligated to follow their national hero. But outside the borders of Serbia? Nah.
He played all over the world, in the past 15 years or so, and won so many Grand Slam trophies. But he never won the home crowd. Anywhere. And he never will. In Wimbledon the fans go wild for Roger. In Roland Garros Nadal is much appreciated. But Novak? Not really. He was booed in New York last summer after retiring mid-match, he was booed in Melbourne where he won most of his slams, after losing it with the crowd and the umpire. Nobody likes you.
You would think – “well, Djokovic is basically the king of the Australian Open, having won there so many times. Doesn’t he deserve some respect from the crowd?”. Well, it doesn’t work like that. Respect? Love? you need to earn it. He never did, and never will. Interestingly, he simply couldn’t believe how the Melbourne crowd strongly supported the other player, young and promising Dominic Thiem. “I’m the king of the Aussie Open, why don’t you like me?” he wanted to say, but all he could say to the crowd was “Shut the F*** Up” as they cheered for his opponent.
An interesting fact about tennis fans: in the last 15 to 20 years they’ve been split between the GOAT – Roger Federer, and his greatest nemesis Rafa Nadal. The biggest rivalry in sports history. There was simply no room left for Djokovic, who trailed behind them in 3rd place, and always will. Even if he goes on to eventually win more slams, he will never, and I mean NEVER be considered to be the greatest. Simply because nobody likes him (outside of Serbia) and nobody ever liked him throughout his whole career. He always lived in the shadows of his opponents, Roger, Rafa, Andy, Stan and now Thiem and any other young challenger that should and will stand on the other side of the net.
Tennis fans all over the world (outside of Serbia) are bracing for new heroes. We get them in women’s tennis every so often, with new champions rising. But in the men’s tennis, the deadlock is still in place, with the 3 rulers refusing to let go. It is time. Time to move on and let the young generation take over. The NextGen already won the hearts of tennis fans, it is time they win the slams as well.
So, why don’t we like you? it’s very simple. You just don’t have what it takes. The way you walk, the way you talk, you’re disrespectful, you’re full of yourself, you’re a disgrace to classy tennis – faking injuries when you’re falling behind in the scoreline, arguing and raging at the umpire. We had enough of you and we hereby dismiss you with a CODE VIOLATION. As the umpire should have rightfully done.
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Seems to be somewhat of a Serbian trait, sadly. He could do some much good, however, it might be just that angry edge that makes him a highly competitive player and if he lost that, he would lose matches.
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Interesting, he seems to strive on the back of anger. Would he be the same player if he was a nice guy on the court?
No. I doubt it. Maybe many sportspeople have that “killer’ drive, to put it bluntly. Some are Bette at channeling it appropriately. He directs it outwardly. Compare him to Yvo ne Goolagong’s persona on court or players like Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall.
The above picture says it all. Who wants to see that? Scary! He has a lot of anger and no class and now he wants special treatment at the Australian Open.
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Agree, it’s pretty amazing how the TV commentators refer to him as the King of Melbourne Park having won here 8 times. And yet, the crowd will always cheer for his opponent, every single time…