Novak Djokovic's bid for a second Grand Slam title in 2020 was thwarted at the US Open, when he was defaulted for hitting a lineswoman with the ball. Djokovic has received an array of criticism since, despite the fact that he did not intend to hit the line judge.
Recently, two-time French Open winner Jim Courier spoke to Tennis Channel on the controversy, stating that Novak Djokovic shouldn’t be deemed a “bad guy” for what was in essence an accident.
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Novak Djokovic is not a bad guy: Jim Courier
Courier noted that Novak Djokovic's intentions were very relevant, and that he never meant to harm the lines judge - or anyone else, for that matter - with his act.
“I think intent matters, Novak Djokovic clearly had no intention of harming anyone with the ball that unfortunately hit the lines woman in the throat. It was an accident," Courier said.
After Djokovic's controversial disqualification, tennis great John McEnroe had claimed that the 33-year-old was going to be 'the bad guy the rest of his career'. But while Djokovic's public image has been affected by the incident, Courier disagrees with McEnroe's opinion.
"It's one that he's deeply sorry for. I don't think it should be necessarily this great shadow that makes him all of a sudden go from a good guy to a bad guy,” Courier added.
Novak Djokovic needs to be a fiery player on the court, that's when he plays his best tennis: Jim Courier
Courier also pointed out that the incident likely cost Djokovic his 18th Grand Slam title, given he was the overwhelming favorite for the title. After the mishap at Flushing Meadows, Novak Djokovic went on to achieve title glory at the Italian Open, where he won a record-breaking 36th Masters 1000 title.
However, the American believes that the incident at that 2020 US Open would probably still be haunting Djokovic.
“Because he was defaulted in a Major, that he was going to win most likely, that's why I think it will travel with him more so than, say, if it happened in Monte-Carlo,” Courier said.
Novak Djokovic has not been in high spirits ever since the tour season resumed in August, with several off-court issues being at the back of his mind. The Serb also looked a bit irritable throughout his campaign in Rome, prompting Courier to claim that Novak Djokovic needs his aggression back in Paris.
“If Novak [is a] zombie out there, which we saw for a couple of years where he tried to mute his emotions, and that wasn't him, it's not in his DNA,” Courier said.
“He needs to be a fiery player, an emotional player for better or worse on the court. That's when he plays his best tennis. That's who he is," the American added.
Novak Djokovic will have a few days to recharge his batteries before he heads to the 2020 French Open, which is scheduled to kick off on 27 September.
Follow Sportskeeda to get the latest French Open 2020 Results and SchedulePublished 23 Sep 2020, 15:19 IST