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“People give Djokovic a hard time simply because he’s not Nadal or Federer” – Match Points excerpt

Ben Rothenberg and Marion Bartoli talk to Josh Cohen about how they think people will react to Novak Djokovic’s shock default from the US Open.

September 10, 2020
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On the latest Match Points show, Josh Cohen’s guests discussed the action that resulted in Novak Djokovic being disqualified from the US Open. Ben Rothenberg is sure this incident will not have a significant impact on the popularity of the Serbian:

“For his fans, it won’t change anything. They are very loyal and they are extremely vocal, and they will say that he is the victim, as they always do. People have already made up their minds about Novak Djokovic. He’s been a very divisive guy among fans for a long time. More than he should be. Most of the time people give him a hard time just because he’s not Nadal or Federer. They are the ones who came first. They always had more fans than him, and Novak was always the third guy who was breaking up that party. So I don’t think the fans are going to change their mind about him.”

“With Novak, in 2020, we saw behind the scenes”

Marion Bartoli had some sympathy for Djokovic:

“I think the question is more how he feels. He must be feeling horrible. Without even thinking about what the fans will think of him, it’s just about him right now. He is the father of two children and I am sure he feels bad because they will know about it.”

Ben Rothenberg, for his part, went further in his analysis by asserting that Djoko could have been blinded by his feeling of invincibility:

“What makes top athletes so incredible is they block out all self-doubt…In important moments, during matches, they always believe int hemselves, they always believe they are doing the right thing. And I think that with Novak, in 2020, we saw the underside of that. When you believe in yourself so much and never doubt, there is a moment of invincibility. It can be hubris, arrogance, or just lack of caution. And it can be very reckless.”

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