Comment: The star’s extreme contrasts – VG

Novak Djokovic is chasing his tenth Australian Open title. Photo: Kelly Barnes/AP

He is used to being chronically controversial. Perhaps that is why Novak Djokovic is strongest under pressure.


Less than 20 minutes ago

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If you’re wondering about the mental strength of Djokovic, just ask the recently retired Roger Federer.

With two match points in his own serve and the entire Wimbledon audience behind him, Federer was to crown his career on the grass in London with triumph number nine.

The rest is Serbian sports history. The moment from 2019 remains a prime example of how difficult Novak Djokovic is to break.

But it is not only on the pitch that the 35-year-old regularly uses his extreme resilience. His entire position in tennis is built on a love-hate relationship with the public, on a personality with great range and a behavior that constantly makes him controversial.

Here he differs markedly from how smooth Federer and Rafael Nadal have appeared in the public sphere.

Now Djokovic is on a mission “down under” which is not just about trying to win the Grand Slam tournament in Melbourne for the tenth time. It is also about returning to the country he was denied entry to last year, in what became a public laundry with sharp contradictions in the wording.

One side of Novak Djokovic’s personality is that he is anti-vaccine, of such a principled nature that he would rather sit through major tournaments than get an injection in his arm. Last year he was kicked out of Australia, this year he is warmly welcomed back.

That has so far brought Djokovic to the quarter-finals, where Russian Andrei Rublev awaits. On the way, Djokovic has had to experience fans shouting at the people’s favorite Federer, he has struggled a bit with a leg – but at the same time he has played increasingly stronger. Against home hope Alex de Minaur, it was suddenly Novak Djokovic at his very best the audience was served.

When Djokovic manages to top his form in the first major tournament of the year, it tends to go the way of the tennis star as many have an opinion.

On the one hand, more and more people recognize that he probably has the highest top level of all time, on the other, he will never have the same broad public appeal that his rivals have had.

The Serb, who is known for being very patriotic towards his homeland, probably lives with the latter quite well.

It seems as if he hits best from below. And if there’s one thing history has shown time and time again, it’s that there’s no starting point Djokovic can’t come back from.

Don’t be surprised if last year’s despair is turned into a double-digit anniversary at the Australian Open.

It would have been peak Djokovic to go from undesirable to triumphant.


Published: 24.01.23 at 22:34

The article is in Norwegian

Tags: Comment stars extreme contrasts

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