Crowds don’t owe anything to anyone.
Novak is a great champion , one who has won 17 Grand Slams and has been Number One for 276 weeks , and counting. Yet crowds cheer for Roger and boo him when the two play final at Wimbledon , applaud when he commits faults or misses points at New York , and support Thiem when the latter takes on the ershwhile champion. Titles and prizes are won on the court. Love and respect are for the crowds’ to bestow as they please. Pleading does not fill the bucket of love . Asking never got anyone sufficient respect.
Even players don’t owe anything to the crowds.
Djokovic is not obliged to fawn over jeering masses. There is no need to make a fuss about it. If someone claps when he misses a forehand, or hits tennis ball into the net, he must be his enemy, and certainly not a well-wisher. It is appropriate that Novak hits back at such lumpen elements and asks them to shut their fuck up . If crowds cannot rise over blatantly partisan concerns, Novak has a right to vent out his anger to drive himself forward . Afterall, crowds do not pay his bills, his body and racket do. Crowds fill the coffers of Tournaments, who are obliged to fix purses for good performances. There is no reason why Djokovic should tolerate vehement rudeness , but obviously he has to keep the allowable limits in mind.
Crowds love to be bribed ,pampered and appeased.
Fe-dal (after a lot of criticism) have jointly pledged A$ 250000 towards bushfire relief efforts . Sascha Zverev had declared that he would donate the Australian Open prize money, all A$ 4 million of it, if he became the champion. He lost in the semis , nevertheless has donated A$ 50000 ( A$10000 per match won). Ashleigh Berty donated her entire winnings from Brisbane Tournament towards the cause, and had pledged the entire purse from Melbourne , had she won. Nick Kyrgios had pledged to donate A$ 200 for every ace that he hit. Alex de Minaur promised A$ 250 and , Millaman A$ 100 per ace . It is against this charity fest that Djokovic’s promised A$ 25000 look rather paltry, and he comes across as a stingy bloke. One can rightly argue that the Serbian champ owes nothing to anyone, and would definitely end up donating a larger amount anyways, yet people have a way of taking offence over such matters. Crowds are prone to assume that it is everyone’s duty to help them get over the calamity of bushfires. But even if this was one reason that set crowds against Novak, why did they bother with Dominic Thiem, who has not even pledged a penny so far ! (as per media reports which do not say anything on Theim’s pledge )
Crowds love to be treated to the spectacular.
Tennis viewers have been heads-over-heels in love with Roger Federer for the past 16 years. Along came Nadal, and unleashed his beastly raw power to tame the beauty in Roger’s game. Where was the need or scope for a Third Man to enter the fray and start beating them regularly . Novak’s tennis is a victory of percentages, of speed and accuracy , over sheer grace and raw power. No wonder Fe-dal diehards derisively address Novak as a Machine, the winner of percentages, and a player who tames the spectacular with attrition . Djokovic keeps chipping until he has worn the opponent down. There is an inevitability about his methods, that make his opponents , their fans and crowds fear and hate Novak.
Crowds do not like medical breaks & mind games.
Medical time-outs are perfectly legal and Novak uses them strategically but fans of his opponents don’t like it . In the early days, Federer used to allege that Novak cut corners and did not give his best in every match. That image has somehow stuck because of the influence that Roger enjoys. Later on , as Novak emerged as a world-beater , the legend of the master manipulator was born. Now he is considered as not just a grinder, but also as someone adapt at playing mental games. Novak played his fourth round match at the US Open against Wawrinka despite carrying an injury, but was booed roundly for quitting midway, rather than lauded for playing two sets despite it.
Crowds love Underdogs.
But only when these underdogs are not matched up against Federer or Nadal. No one cheered Fucsovics or Tennys Sandgren when they gave hard time time to Roger . Who backed Busta or Delbonis to play well against Rafael Nadal ? But Thiem received raucous support from crowd right from the beginning, and this really shocked Djokovic.
Crowds should look at their own.
Australia should look at the conduct of their own sportspersons before judging other players harshly. A whole generation of Aussie tennis players have excelled in nothing but rank bad behaviour- Nick Kyrgios, Bernard Tomic and Kokkinakis need no introduction as examples of frittered away talents. Nick has taken too many personal pot-shots at Novak. Maybe Australian tennis fraternity needs to do some introspection. If they cannot even extend respect to the ‘King of Australia’ who has won eight titles at Melbourne , something is not quite right .
Novak is a survivor. He just refuses to lose. He finds ways to win matches even he is not playing well. He is a man who crashed into a party of two , and then made it all about himself. Fe-dal fans must compulsively dislike him, and they do.
Making noise during the passage of play, or cheering every single fault of his is just not on. A player is governed by Rules, and when he plays , his entire career and persona is at stake . But what is the stake of the viewer ? Does any code of conduct govern them ? Does history remember their contribution in any match , or record the hurdles they put up against any player ?
Nastase mocked the crowds but never lost his focus, rather absorbed their energy. Connors and McEnroe picked issues with unruly viewers, but this did not work to their advantage. Novak Djokovic makes a lot of fuss about not being accorded due respect and love, but transforms himself into a gladiator, who knows fully well that crowds bay for his blood, but cannot hurt his prospects on his march to glory. It is very satisfying how he shows the haters his middle finger, and keeps winning.