New York (AP) – After his momentous breakdown at the US Open, Novak Djokovic just shot away. A week later, the Serbian number one in the world left the place where he actually wanted to celebrate his 18th Grand Slam title in the passenger seat.
Everything was arranged for the next triumph. His two biggest rivals Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer were absent, Djokovic himself was in shape and was unbeaten in 2020. But then the 33-year-old threw himself out of the tournament with a fatal indiscipline, opening the door for a new Grand Slam champion – which Alexander Zverev now wants to go through.
“Now it gets interesting,” said Zverev. “I am not the only one who has a chance. I hope I can develop further in the tournament. Let’s see what it looks like in the end,” said the German number one, who will now play against Croat Borna Coric on Tuesday. record. meets.
Djokovic will have left New York by then. In his round of 16 against Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta on Sunday after a lost service game in the first set, the Serb furiously knocked a ball away and hit a linesman. Djokovic had deliberately not hit the ball in the direction of the woman, but she had fallen to the ground and then had obvious breathing problems. Djokovic himself seemed totally shocked by the situation. However, according to the rules, he was disqualified.
The 33-year-old’s turbulent year is richer because of a different story. At the start of the season, Djokovic dominated the scene almost at will, winning the title at the Australian Open and in Dubai. Then the coronavirus paralyzed the entire tour – and the disaster took its course for Djokovic.
During the Adria Tour organized by him, Djokovic and other players such as Zverev or the Austrian Dominic Thiem made negative headlines with party photos in the middle of the pandemic. Djokovic and his wife Jelena tested positive for Covid-19 themselves. But Djokovic showed no regrets even at a short distance. “If I had the chance to do the Adria Tour again, I would do it again,” he told the New York Times.
After the resumption of the tour, Djokovic initially convinced athletically with the success of the Masters 1000 event, which was moved from Cincinnati to New York. But just before the start of the US Open, he got the industry back on track with the establishment of a new players’ union. His arch-rivals Nadal and Federer immediately made their rejection public at a distance.
It’s the next chapter in the Big Three showdown. Djokovic wants nothing more than to receive the same recognition as Nadal and Federer. While the Spanish and the Swiss are adored all over the world, Djokovic usually looks like the car’s fifth wheel. The “Süddeutsche Zeitung” once described Djokovic in its podcast as the “unloved giants of the Big Three”.
In pursuit of affection, acceptance and fame, Djokovic now seems stuck. “I feel like Novak had too much on his plate. Trying to win the US Open is already a big problem. Starting this player organization and running a campaign to convince players is a full-time job and a lot of extra stress. No one can afford to lose focus during a Grand Slam, ”Serena Williams coach Patrick Mouratoglou, who is highly recognized in the scene, wrote on Twitter.
Djokovic, who loses the ranking points and the prize money earned in New York, asked for forgiveness on social media a few hours after his blackout. He had skipped the mandatory press conference – another behavior unworthy of an industry leader. Now the Serb was remorseful. “This whole situation makes me very sad and empty,” Djokovic wrote, saying he wanted to see the incidents as a “lesson” for himself.
But the stigma of being disqualified from a Grand Slam tournament will stay with him for a lifetime. Federer and Nadal are considered lords of the tennis world. Djokovic now more like a bully and someone who has lost his nerve in search of love and recognition.