Wimbledon: Novak Djokovic feeds on controversy

Wimbledon: Novak Djokovic feeds on controversy
Wimbledon: Novak Djokovic feeds on controversy

He could win ten more Grand Slam tournaments by the end of his career and it wouldn’t change anything. Novak Djokovic will never be, in the minds of most tennis fans, the king of hearts. The king of records and performances, certainly, but never the public’s chosen one. What are the reasons? The first is the comparison. Since he became the sporting equal of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, the Serb has wanted to be loved like the Swiss and the Spaniard. But he will never have achieved this goal, even if he tried for a whole period to stroke everyone’s hair by controlling his emotions, by polishing his strong character, that of a child who experienced the war in ex-Yugoslavia and who had to flee his country to build himself as a human being. If he thinks A, the Serb will never say B to please you.

This whole character leads us to the second reason for his disenchantment with a section of tennis fans: the controversies. Like the one experienced on Monday evening at Wimbledon where he launched in his post-match speech against Holger Rune a “Goooooood night” to the supporters who shouted “Uuuuuune” perhaps a little too pronounced during the duel. Before concluding: “I know the tricks. I don’t accept. You don’t get to me.” A first? Not really. No one will forget the 2022 Australian Open where Nole was at the center of the debates because of his anti-vaccine convictions during the Covid-19 crisis but also his attempt to enter Down Under with a not very clean medical passport. A year ago, it was his sentence “Kosovo is the heart of Serbia” written on a camera at Roland-Garros that put him at the heart of the debates. We will not forget, either, his exclusion from the US Open in 2020 for having sent a ball at a line judge. Despite this turbulence, the Djoker has never staggered. These controversies, he feeds on them to grow, to motivate himself, to show everyone that he is the greatest.

And we can even take this reasoning a little further. When he does not find a person or a situation to surpass himself, the Serbian displays a duality of his person. In this situation, his mind pushes him to fight signs sent by his body. This is how he explained his victories at the Australian Open in 2021 and 2023 with tears in the abdominal wall the first time and in the hamstrings the second. Not to mention his presence at Wimbledon this year three weeks after a meniscus operation.

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