Controversy’s favorite child Novak Djokovic has had a turbulent year, struggling with one problem after another. Fresh from the controversy surrounding his disqualification from the US Open, the World No. 1 now finds himself immediately embroiled in a new issue - this time in Brazil.
Unlike his other controversies in 2020 though, Novak Djokovic is seemingly the victim this time around. The Serb is reportedly yet to be paid his dues by the state of Rio de Janeiro, for a transaction that dates back to eight long years ago.
In a report by Brazilian daily O Globo, it was revealed that Novak Djokovic has once again requested the money - roughly around 3.5 million Brazilian Real - that is owed to him and his lawyers. This is a case that has been lingering since 2012, and yet the parties involved are no closer to finding a resolution - much to the annoyance of the Serb.
Novak Djokovic was supposed to be paid for playing an exhibition match in Brazil
Back in 2012, the state government of Rio de Janeiro invited Novak Djokovic to play an exhibition showcase of tennis and football against Gustavo 'Guga' Kuerten. The Serb was promised a fee of US$1.1 million for the match as well as for other social project campaigns. However, Djokovic was only paid $450,000 for his efforts.
Not willing to relinquish his claims on his hard-earned money, Novak Djokovic ended up filing a lawsuit in 2015. He accused the state of Rio to have defrauded him of the amount promised, but strangely lost the case.
The 17 time Grand Slam champion then filed a second lawsuit in June 2019, which he ended up winning. The verdict of this lawsuit was announced in January this year, which directed the state of Rio to make the remaining payment of $650,000 to Novak Djokovic. This amount roughly translates to 3.5 million Brazilian Real.
January has turned to September and Novak Djokovic is yet to receive his payment, which has seemingly ticked off both him and his legal team. As per the report in O Globo, the Serb has sent a notice to the Public Finance Court, once again requesting the funds owed to him.
Brazil, being one of the worst-hit countries by the COVID-19 pandemic, has been facing severe economic recession in recent months. The country, which already had enormous debts owed to a host of worldwide organizations, has been burdened further by the allegedly inept leadership of Jair Bolsonaro.
It remains to be seen if the state of Rio clears the payment to Novak Djokovic under such circumstances.Published 11 Sep 2020, 21:05 IST