Generous Djokovic isn’t Tiger Woods
In a sport of nice guys, Novak Djokovic stands out as being exceptionally open and generous with the press and fans.
He enjoys joking with the press and giving long, thoughtful answers in English, Serbian, Italian and even his improving Spanish and French. When a moderator tried to end his Wimbledon presser last Tuesday, Djokovic said he wanted to keep it going because he enjoys conversations with us.
A few years ago, he danced with some journalists at a player’s party in Dubai where he also got his coach Boris Becker and an umpire on the dance floor.
Last year at the start of the French Open, he shared his birthday cake with journalists.
Despite a reputation for cockiness earlier in his career, Djokovic often comes across as a philosopher and a puritan. He married his longtime sweetheart Jelena in 2014, and she’s pregnant with their second child.
But some reporters at Wimbledon are gossiping about him after John McEnroe, during a live broadcastof Djokovic’s win over Adam Pavlasek, suggested Djokovic might have “off-court issues with the family” similar to Tiger Woods.
The Daily Mail, offering scant evidence, suggested Djokovic has been “endangering” his marriage with various affairs.
McEnroe also offered no proof or evidence to support his comments. (Indeed, the gregarious Djokovic has a much warmer relationship with the press than Woods, who was known for being somewhat aloof or arrogant.)
“The person that comes to mind immediately with Novak is not a tennis player, it’s actually a golfer: Tiger Woods,” McEnroe said. He said that Woods “had the issues with his wife, and then he seemed to go completely off the rails and has never been even close to being the same player. So we’re starting to say: ‘Wait a minute, is this possible?'”
Djokovic was diplomatic in response. He didn’t duck questions during his post-match press conference.
“Anybody in the world has a right to say what they want, and I respect that,” said Djokovic, who is often candid with the press. “Especially coming from John, because he’s someone that has earned that right because of who he is and what he has meant to the sport and what he is representing as a former player and still being very active on the tour. He’s very well-known for his bold comments and not really caring too much about being politically correct, but saying whatever is on his mind. That’s all I can say. I really don’t take anything personal.”
“I don’t know where was the basis or if he was just maybe making a comparison,” Djokovic said. “When I was warming up for my first match on Centre Court, he was giving an intro, talking to the camera, and I served and the serve went straight at him as I was playing. I don’t know. Maybe it’s because of that. Maybe he thought it wasn’t a joke, and I was joking; I was trying to hit him. I don’t know. I take it very lightly. I don’t think there was any kind of really wrong intention from his side toward me.”
(words and images copyright Christopher Johnson Globalite Media all rights reserved)