‘Novak Djokovic wants Roger Federer’s level of popularity’, says top journalist

The GOAT debate has escalated further after Novak Djokovic won his second Roland Garros a week ago. The number 1 in the world has extracted the maximum from himself to put on the bulletin board the 19th Grand Slam of his amazing career, in some ways the most suffered (together with Wimbledon 2019). The Serbian champion had to recover two sets both against Lorenzo Musetti and in the final against Stefanos Tsitsipas, as well as eliminating the king of the earth Rafael Nadal in the penultimate act. The 34-year-old from Belgrade has inflicted on his eternal rival what was just his third overall defeat in the Paris Grand Slam. At a press conference, Nole admitted that the Grand Slam is now a goal, bearing in mind that he will be the main favorite at both Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics. One of the most established sports journalists in the United States, Jon Wertheim, correspondent for Sports Illustrated, spoke at length about the Big 3 (Roger Federer, Nadal and Djokovic) in the latest edition of ‘The Rich Eisen Show’ (a well-known radio show).

Wertheim on the GOAT debate

One of the most established sports journalists in the US, Jon Wertheim spoke about the lack of respect Novak Djokovic receives. He does not get the due credit he deserves. “Who’s this third guy, wrecking up this nice rivalry we have. I thought Novak Djokovic sort of always had that against him, as like the third guy in the party. He does some things, that aren’t necessarily only so admirable, but he is not like the bad boy of tennis,” said Wertheim. “One thing is really kind of wild, is that he really wants to be liked…like he wants everyone to like him,” said Wertheim. He suggested that Djokovic wants affection from people, and he wants Roger Federer’s level of popularity. Djokovic is the best player in the world at the moment, and the applause needs to be loud. The fandom for Rafael Nadal and Federer is great, but at some point, fans overlook the greatness of the Serb. “This guy is going to retire with the most majors. He has a winning record, head-to-head against the other two guys. He has more weeks at number one, you sort of make the statistical case, and it’s really hard not to conclude that he is the best ever,” said Wertheim. Novak Djokovic will partner Spain’s Carlos Gomez-Herrera in the doubles event at Mallorca this week. The inaugural ATP 250 tournament, one of the final events in the lead-up to Wimbledon, is scheduled to begin later on Saturday. Carlos Gomez-Herrera achieved a career-high ATP doubles ranking of 257 last year. He and Novak Djokovic will face Bosnia’s Tomislav Brkic and Serbia’s Nikola Cacic in their opening-round match.

 

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