Just a punny headline, but no funny business at the US Open as Novak gets disqualified for unintentionally hitting a lineswoman on her throat.
“She ain't going to the hospital”, he pleaded, but she could have.. in either case, the rule has to be the same and the same for all, however harsh it may be or whether it is a 250/500/1000 point event or a Grand Slam for that matter.
I remember Federer getting docked a point for gently lobbing a ball into the crowd. Knowing Fed, he must have been furious to do that, for sure.
Coming back to Novak, he is a nice guy who wants to be known as the nicest guy. And that's his problem. Trying to be what he need not be and then the reverse happens.
He cannot control his temper, his frustrations etc. all probably stemming not only from the occasional let-downs in his extremely high-standard game but also the relative non-acceptance from the crowd.
It presumably runs in the family, starting with his granddad and then percolating down to his father and mother. Frustrations, I mean.
I remember watching an interview with Novak when he was seven years old. The interview was in Serbian but with English subtitles, and he came across like a kid who was extremely sorted.
If I had seen that interview live, I would have thought that kid will be No 1 one day. You know I am 59, and I know a thing or two about human psychology, mostly with Serbian kids who speak in Serbian!
But the kid grew up, and then all sorts of insecurities have crept in. Not in his game but other stuff, leading to being dubbed a drama queen, and trying too hard to please.
Coming back to the recent past. I was at the Dubai Open. As some of us know, the player's lounge is a fairly good distance away from the courts and at around 6.30 pm, or so the players walk from the lounge to the courts along a fenced pathway. And we fans throng both sides of the path to get a glimpse of the players—all at arms distance.
And on one February evening, out came Delpo and then Roger. We all shouted Go Roger. But Fed was in the zone. He looked straight ahead with not an inkling that he had heard any of us. But of course, post-match he spent almost half an hour signing autographs. Fed knows what to do when and how.
Getting back to the story, then came Novak. I shouted out “Hey Djoker” He turned and beamed at me. If I were a celebrity, he would have become my fan for sure that evening.
Of course, I am dealing in extreme hyperbole here, but you get the drift. Novak wants to please, and the effort shows, and it tells in ways which he cannot comprehend either.
I loved John McEnroe, Goran Ivanisevic and Marat Safin, though I supported Borg, Edberg and Fed respectively when it came to head-to-head meetings.
In the ultimate analysis, the fans always like those who are natural, like that Serbian kid in the interview.