Fans are never going to give this guy any love. He’s won 7 slams, but each arena was rooting for his opponent in all of those matches. There was no better example of that than what was going on at the All England Club yesterday for the Wimbeldon Championships.
As they usually do at Wimby, the fans put all of their weight behind Roger (or Murray). Federer made the most of it and forced a 5 setter, but somehow Djokovic found a way to put the kibosh on Roger’s bid for #8 and #18.
But isn’t that always the case with Nole? Finding some way to put the kibosh on the wishes of everyone in the building?
To earn his 7 slams, not only did he have to chop his way through two all-time masters in Nadal and Federer (the top 2 players of all time when it’s all said and done), but he also had to do it with venues emphatically rooting against him. He’s never had the benefit of home court advantage, in other words.
This is happening to Nole because he’s the biggest party pooper in the history of tennis.
Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal probably have more fans than everyone else on the tour combined, and this is supposed to be their era of domination. Djokovic is treated like a party crasher. An intruder. An interloper. He’s recently taken 7 slams from Federer and Nadal and that is not how this story was supposed to unfold. In this match, for example, Roger was supposed to go back in time for one big F.U. to his critics who said he was done winning slams. But Djokovic again authored an alternate ending. The fans weren’t appreciative. Venues will generally let him know about how much of an inconvenience they think he is every single time.
So that explains most of it. Another part of it was from when Djokovic was younger, but I don’t think that factors as much as it used to.
But it looks like Novak will have to be happy with his role in tennis history. He’s never going to be loved like Roger or Nadal. He may garner more respect as he ages, but even then he will never even be as celebrated as someone like Andre Agassi. That should be fine with Nole, because the negative reaction to him only speaks to how incredible his play has been. He forced his way into the conversation when Roger and Nadal were at the height of their powers and that has got to be one of the most astounding feats in all of sports.
Welcome back to #1, Nole.
This loss really hit him hard. It’s been a while since we’ve seen him so distraught. He had a chance to make history and was denied. He cried.
No, it’s not the first time he’s shed a tear or three after a loss – and it wasn’t nearly as bad as his most famous time – and I know he already has 17 slams, but you can’t help but feel for someone going through that kind of mental anguish.
But will he get to 18?
It’s not looking too good right now. He could always get a lucky trip like he did at the French Open in 2009 and steal one.
But Nadal is creeping up on him. Consider that the balding wonder from Manacor is probably going to win the next three French Opens… yeah, the math isn’t very complicated there and it doesn’t work in Federer’s favor. So the clock is ticking on Roger’s record – he has three years to put some distance between him and the charging Spanish Bull.