I thought I’d put together a post based on some discussion which arose on Twitter yesterday around an article concerning Novak Djokovic.
The article was on the official website of the ATP tour and it covered the AskMen poll which put Djokovic as one of the top 49 most influential men in the world. Now, these articles should always be taken with a pinch of salt as frankly, they are ridiculous. Djokovic was number 19 on the list, the third most influential athlete behind Lionel Messi and Cadel Evans, but strangely was ahead of Mark Zuckerberg and Barack Obama!
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The thing that caught my eye was not so much the order of the list, more the reaction people had to Nole being involved at all. It may have been an outspoken few, but it seems that a lot of people just do not like him.
Exactly what it is about the Serb which people object to I’m not sure, but it seems he is a far more divisive champion that his two illustrious predecessors. As tennis fans, we have been spoiled over the past 8 or so years to have to genuine legends at the top of the game and couldn’t wish for better ambassadors for tennis than Roger and Rafa.
Outrageously talented, incredible competitors and absolute gentlemen off the court. The only ones who would say a bad word about either player were the hardcore fans of his rival, but there has always been a healthy respect for both players.
Djokovic apparently does not yet have this respect from some corners of both the Federer and Nadal camps. The Nadal fans may be understandably bitter about the Serb’s dominance of their idol all through 2011. The same could be said for Federer fans (French Open aside) as Djokovic has dismissed the legends with apparent ease all year. Perhaps it is a personality issue for some people.
Nole carries himself with an arrogance that makes Federer look positively humble, and his natural charisma and outspoken nature will always find detractors. He brings a lot of fun to the tennis court, but at times he has shown a few signs that he might not be the most sportsmanlike player on the tour.
One particular incident stands out at the US Open against Federer near the end of the 5th set when he seemed to say Roger was getting a lot of lucky shots back and he was generally just acting like a petulant child. But the heart he showed to come back and win that match will have won him a lot of admirers, so it’s a tough one to dissect.
The quality of the guy’s tennis has been unbelievable this year, so I refuse to accept that anyone can dislike him as a result of his style of play. So what is it? Is it envy from the Nadal and Federer fans that another player is dominating the game? Is it a personality issue? Is it the awful t-shirts he wears occasionally? Please leave your thoughts below – How do you feel about Djoker?