Over the last three months, Novak Djokovic has been quite vocal about issues related to the organization of tournaments. Djokovic recently decided to head a new association recently for the benefit of the players, but the Serb is also doing his bit for differently-abled pros.
Novak Djokovic recently posted a heartfelt message on his Instagram handle, where he lauded the efforts of wheelchair tennis ace Gustavo Fernandez and talked about the chat he had had with the former World No. 1.
"Wheelchair tennis players are truly an inspiration for me" - Novak Djokovic
Around three months ago, the 2020 US Open organizing body had announced certain restrictions to battle the COVID-19 outbreak as well as to pad the financial losses that would arise from holding the tournament behind closed doors. While the new rules didn't affect World No. 1 Novak Djokovic or the other top players, the wheelchair tennis category was hit hard - the USTA had declared there would be no wheelchair edition at all this year.
That decision received widespread backlash, with veteran Dylan Alcott slamming the organizers for considering disabled participants as dispensable.
"I know a lot of the top players, the likes of Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are reaching out internally to try and help because they love wheelchair tennis and they support us as well," Alcott had said.
After players like Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray joined in the protests, the USTA finally changed their stance and announced that they would hold the wheelchair tournament after all.
Novak Djokovic has now reinforced his respect for wheelchair tennis by posting a picture with Argentinian wheelchair tennis player Gustavo Fernandez. Winner of five Major titles - the 2016 French Open, 2017 Australian Open, the 2019 Australian Open, 2019 French Open and 2019 Wimbledon Championships - Fernandez has practically the same stature in the diffently-abled category of tennis as Djokovic does on the ATP tour.
"Gustavo and I talked tennis today. Wheelchair tennis players are truly an inspiration for me. It’s amazing how they manage to execute the shots while constantly having one hand on the wheel," Djokovic said in the caption.
Novak Djokovic went on to say he had had a dialogue with the 26-year old differently-abled tennis player, while also letting his fans know that he found it 'super hard' to play like his wheelchair tennis peers.
"Gustavo Fernandez was kind enough to answer all the questions and give me insights to his Herculean efforts on the court," Djokovic added. "I have tried several times to play wheelchair tennis and it’s super hard. Big admiration and respect to Gustavo and all the wheelchair tennis players."
While Novak Djokovic has not been happy with the arrangements made by USTA lately, the 17-time Major winner was generous enough to thank the governing body's efforts towards holding the wheelchair events and ensuring that the diffently-abled tennis players got their deserved income amid the global crisis.
"Well done to US Open for providing opportunity for these guys to compete in these kind of circumstances," Djokovic said at the end of the caption.