That former World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has been experiencing a career slump is no secret. The Serb, who had unequivocally dominated the tennis circuit over the past few years, this year has struggled with injuries, form and what he has admitted were ‘significant personal problems.’
Since then, the Serb, who is rumoured to be splitting ways with coach Boris Becker at the end of the 2016 tennis season, has brought on controversial ‘love guru’ Pepe Imaz, a former tennis professional from Spain, whose philosophy is based on “peace, love and hugs.” Djokovic has alleged that the ‘guru’ ‘cured’ his brother of depression, and having struggled with personal issues himself, Novak has alleged that the Spaniard’s presence on the circuit is helpful.
But after his hard-fought win over Austrian sensation Dominic Thiem, the Serb was a bit testy ater being interviewed by a member of the press.
Having lost the first set in a tiebreak, Djokovic appeared to smash the ball into the direction of his box on the court. That would later prompt the journalist in question, whose affiliation and identity are unknown, to ask the Serb about a similar incident at this year’s French Open, where Djokovic would go on to win his debut title this year.
In his quarter-final against Tomas Berdych, Djokovic, missing a point in the third set, flung his racquet onto the court in a fit of rage. That racquet went towards a line judge, narrowly missing him as it hit a wall on Court Philippe Chartrier.
Djokovic, who later apolgoized, later admitted he had been “lucky not to be disqualified”.
The journalist at the World Tour Finals questioned Djokovic on the incident:
Journalist: “Back to the end of the first set, we saw you similarly venting your frustration at Roland Garros, throwing your racket. Does it concern you one day that will cost you dearly? If it hit someone...”
Djokovic: ”You guys are unbelievable.
Djokovic: Because you’re always picking these kind of things.”
Journalist: “If you keep doing these things ...”
Djokovic: “I keep doing these things? Why don’t you get suspended then?”
Journalist: “You were close, weren’t you?”
Djokovic: ”I’m close? I’m still not suspended, so if I’m not close, I’m not close.”
Journalist: “If that ball had hit a spectator, it could have been serious.”
Djokovic: “It could have been, yes. It could have snowed in the O2 Arena, as well, but it didn’t.”
Journalist: ”You’re not concerned about your mindset?”
Djokovic: “I’m the only player that shows his frustration on the court? That’s what you are saying?”
Journalist:“You’re one of the top-ranked players in the world.” ND “So?” Q “You are showing this frustration. I’m asking you, do you think it’s an issue for you?”
Djokovic: “It is not an issue for me. It’s not the first time I did it.”
Although Djokovic has had a few outbursts on court, he has never been known for constant outbursts, unlike his biggest rival on the court today – Andy Murray, who is somewhat known for his fiery temper.
While the temper can perhaps be at least partially explained by Djokovic’s tennis and personal struggles, it appears that the presence of a life coach has not helped this – and aided by what are obviously needling questions from the journalist, the Serb lost his cool in what had otherwise been a fairly calm press conference.
Although he has played some strong tennis and had a thundering start to the season, defending ATP World Tour Finals champion Novak Djokovic will need to win the title completely undefeated here to win the title. Murray, meanwhile, has no such constraints – if he wins the title, he will retain the World No. 1 spot, ending the year as the top-ranked player.