Novak Djokovic was the outright favorite to win the 2020 US Open, but he was disqualified from the tournament for hitting a line judge with a ball. His controversial exit has been the talk of the tennis community ever since, with people arguing on both sides of the line.
Ubitennis recently caught up with Djokovic's ex-coach Boris Becker and two-time US Open champion Justine Henin, where the two talked about the Serb's mindset in great detail. They also gave their views on why Djokovic is frequently painted as the villain while Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal receive a majority of the crowd support.
Becker had earlier stated that the Belgrade-based player had too much on his plate, while Henin had said that Djokovic had proven he was a human after all. In their recent interview, the two tennis veterans discussed at length the general lack of love among fans for the 17-time Grand Slam winner.
Novak Djokovic is different from Rafa and Roger: Justine Henin
7-time Grand Slam winner Justine Henin was asked if Novak Djokovic did not get the respect that a player of his level deserves, to which she replied that his on-court and off-court personas are very different.
"It's very strange," Henin said. "Personally, I respect the champion he is. You can like or not his on-court personality. We are witnessing a golden age in men's tennis because of the Big 3, but also because of all the players who are coming up behind them. Novak is different from Rafa and Roger, and he also broke onto the scene a little later, so we have to have the utmost respect for what he's doing in tennis."
Boris Becker meanwhile said that like every other human, even Djokovic doesn't enjoy being at the receiving end of criticism. The German pointed out that Djokovic does a lot of good for society, but that is often ignored for the sake of amplifying his faults.
"He's a people person, he does a lot of charity work in Serbia through his foundation," Becker said. "And yet people only talk about him when he breaks the rules. He is a champion, he always wants to win, but sometimes he makes mistakes too."
Becker was then asked about an incident from the 2014 ATP Finals, where the fans at the O2 Arena applauded Novak Djokovic for double-faulting in his match against Kei Nishikori. Djokovic had mentioned in the post-match interview that he struggled to focus on the game because some fans went over the line.
"In men's tennis, fans are divided between Federer and Nadal. And then here comes Djokovic who crashes the party – this is why he gets so much criticism. Nobody is perfect. Roger double faults, Rafa double faults, they don't get booed," Becker replied.
After an unceremonious exit from the US Open, Novak Djokovic will now shift his focus to the clay-court season in Europe.Published 12 Sep 2020, 18:22 IST