Djokovic, a number 1 not grateful

Laura Marta

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For a long time, Novak Djokovic pushes the numbers in the history of the sport, which, at the moment Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal defend. He does not hide in pointing out that he wants to beat all the records of his biggest rivals. «Rafa and Roger inspire me. We feed, we push each other. Where they go, I will go. It’s your challenge, your goal, and the reason you get up every day. He is close to many of them, others have even improved them already. Like that record of weeks in number 1 that he enjoys this week in the same step as Federer (310) and that he will overcome on Monday, March 8 to impose his own era – although he is still far from the leader Graf (377) -. And yet something is wrong with the figure of the Serbian, who, with hundreds of thousands of followers around the world, He has not just become that charismatic and beloved player as the Swiss and the Spanish are.

It is not a question of tennis. He hatched in 2010 and attacked the Nadal-Federer duo in 2011 with ten titles on the table, three of them Grand Slams. He has crazy tennis, impossible to digest the backhand when he hides it and crosses it, very accurate with the drive and a very good server. He also defends himself wonderfully, stretched out to the impossible for his flexibility and considered one of the best receivers on the circuit.

With records in hand, and with 33 years, Djokovic there are few things that are going to resist on the tennis planet. There are 18 Grand Slams, just two behind Nadal and Federer. If the Swiss has his garden at Wimbledon and the Spanish at Roland Garros, the Serbian has made Australia his farmhouse. He won his ninth title in Melbourne this past February, no one but him. But in this success that other part also lived with more criticism than applause. “Emotionally, it has been one of the most difficult tournaments, due to the quarantine and because of things that were said in the media. In a couple of days I became a person ‘non grata’ in this country ”, he alluded with the trophy in hand. The reason was twofold. On the one hand, by a letter in which he demanded what many considered as privileges during the quarantine. Hurtful for those who had a much more iron confinement.

On the other, already in the tournament, Djokovic alluded that he had withdrawn from any other tournament due to an abdominal injury that almost cost him the match against Taylor Fritz. But as he passed the round, no one seemed to be in better condition than him, champion with all the honors.

Detractors

Many considered that had exaggerated his injury, to mislead the contrary or for reasons known only to him, a situation that was not new. «It happened many times in my career. And it will not be the last, probably, “he said. Is right. At the beginning of his career, he began to win detractors when he alleged a physical problem to withdraw from the meetings or to extend the medical break and then it disappeared. “It doesn’t surprise me, he always does. I don’t know if it really hurts or is it mental. He does it whenever he feels in trouble, ”Pablo Carreño clearly stated.

Although the misgivings come from before, from those imitations with which the Serbian tried to find a hole in that tyranny imposed by Nadal and Federer. Games that not everyone found fun and that he discarded when he understood that he could destroy his records with the racket in hand. Nor did the failed Adria Tour in June help improve his image.. There is no doubt that he organized it with the best of intentions, to help those who were having the worst time with the coronavirus by playing against great tennis players of the moment such as Zverev, Dimitrov or Thiem. But, with full stands, without masks or distance, many of the players ended up infected, including him and his wife, and the country had to be alerted because the stands had been full without masks or safety distance.

Respect is undoubtedly being earned on the track. But it is Federer who, even without playing, wins year after year, and there are already 18, the crowd’s favorite award, and Rafael Nadal who has garnered recognition from his own teammates on the circuit, with four awards. Emotional challenges, for now, inaccessible for number 1.

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