Why is Novak Djokovic not as popular as Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal?
Right from the start of his career, Novak Djokovic has been a fighter. Being brought up in a war-torn nation and always aiming for the number one spot, Djokovic has turned into one of the greatest players to have ever graced the court.
Until 2009-2010, Djokovic lived under the shadow of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal as both of them won a majority of the tour events back then. Even Djokovic's game didn't seem ready to dominate, as it required some modifications in serve and net play.
But since 2011, Djokovic's game has improved exponentially. Along with his exemplary defensive skills, he has started approaching the net more often and taking charge of points. This spelled trouble for Federer and Nadal as they slowly started losing their grip over the sport.
Djokovic has won a total of 15 Majors and is currently playing his best tennis. He looks all set to reach the final of the ongoing Italian Open; if he does get there, he will face his greatest rival Nadal for the 54th time in his career. Djokovic leads their head-to-head with 28 wins against 25 losses.
The Serb could even surpass Federer in his Major titles record considering his current form. He has put his 2017 behind him, and looks like the dominant player of 2015 again.
Djokovic's defense is considered one of the best in history. He has set a benchmark for the younger generation of players to follow with his tireless running and retrieving. Apart from his defensive skills, he can also play some delicate drop shots which can match the elegance of Federer.
In spite of all these positives, Djokovic is definitely behind Federer and Nadal when it comes to attracting fans. His popularity is not as high as the other two, which is evident in the way the crowd behaves wherever he plays.
What is the reason behind that?
His frequent outbursts on the court could be one. Djokovic has had a lot of heated exchanges with the fans and the umpires as he sometimes gets carried away in the heat of the moment. During a match it is easy to forget that he is the ambassador of the sport and the number one player on tour.
You rarely see Federer or Nadal breaking their racquets and venting out their frustration at the fans in the stadium. It is this attribute that has garnered millions and millions of fans for them all across the globe.
But irrespective of his popularity, Djokovic is leading in the head-to-head record against both Federer and Nadal. We can easily say that he can defeat both of them on any surface in his current form.
No matter what the fans and his peers feel, Djokovic is an asset to the sport. His comeback story is an embodiment of valor and determination, and he is the only player to have challenged Federer and Nadal and establish dominance over them on every surface.
If for nothing else, the Serb deserves more love from the fans for that.Published 19 May 2019, 01:45 IST