So I lied.
I thought I'd finished my commentary on the US Open and that I'd rest my brain for the upcoming Asian swing and the European indoor season. But some things just need to be said, and disseminated.
I was doing my thing surfing fan sites when I came across a thread on Mens Tennis Forums dealing with comments Novak Djokovic's mother made after the Open. These were not remarks "overheard" by some kid lugging sweaty towels to be laundered. These were remarks made to the press and meant for attribution.
I usually don't go after parents and children. When you think about it, none of us has chosen to be either, but when parents have such dominant personalities — Richard Williams and Yuri Sharapov come to mind — you have to look at them in relation to their talented offspring and whether they are positive or negative influences in their children's world. Of course most of this is speculation — I don't know Venus or Serena, and I certainly don't know Maria Sharapova — but in this new world of tennis where the parents loom so large and are often their children's coaches and/or managers, the parents do need to be scrutinized from time to time.
The first comments that caught my eye were found on MSN in an article posted by Matt Cronin.
Djokovic's mother, Dijana, later said that her son is "better" than Federer and chalked up the defeat to a long season and inexperience.It's no secret that I'm not on the Djokovic bandwagon. Apparently unlike much of the US press corps, I followed the European clay court season before Monte Carlo, Rome and Roland Garros. Any fan can do so. Almost every fan site posts live feeds which are readily available so that you can watch these Road to Roland Garros events. I would assume members of the tennis press would be interested in seeing what their anointed darlings are doing before they hit the major tournaments. If they had they would have seen their current favorite play Richard Gasquet in Estoril. If they had seen that match, they may have been a little less willing to allow themselves to be manipulated into thinking this young Serbian is the next big thing. I said at the time that that final was the worst men's final I had ever seen on any surface. I stick by that assessment. It is based solely on Djokovic's antics during the match. Suffice it to say, it was worse than what he pulled against Gael Monfils a couple of years ago at the US Open.
As one fan said, the press had better be wary of this young man and his family.
As has been mentioned earlier, ...(Djokovic) did a fine job manipulating the media...They ACTUALLY believe he is this fun, good hearted kid. If they watched him throughout the year, they would discover the dark underbelly that lies beneath.
And look at the leeway he received...has there EVER been a player who has not been at least WARNED for racquet abuse after throwing his racquet AGAIN and AGAIN throughout the two weeks.
We won't talk about throwing water all over the court, will we? Can you imagine what would have happened if any other player had done that?
Djokovic is doing all the right things. He and his family are stroking all the right people. JMac is almost orgasmic when he talks about young Novak calling to hit with him. So much for objectivity in the broadcast booth.
I'll end this little rant with a quote from Roger Federer who comported himself yesterday the way the reigning champion should. There was no doubt in my mind that Roger was going to win the match. It didn't matter if it was in straight sets or a five set thriller. He was going to win. He's made it clear that he doesn't like Djokovic. He's hinting that others feel the same way. I'm sure the spellbound American press will chalk it up to jealousy on the part of other players.
Federer, who scored an extraordinary five-set Wimbledon victory against No. 2 Rafael Nadal, said that championship would be his favorite.
“But New York has definitely grown on me the last few years,” he said.
He could not say the same for Djokovic. Federer said he still considered Nadal his true rival, even as Djokovic joined the conversation.
Federer was dismissive of Djokovic’s impressions of other players — Nadal, Roddick, Andre Agassi and even Federer.
“In the locker room he’s always very respectful toward me,” Federer said of Djokovic. “He’s pretty quiet. I didn’t see the stuff he did on court the other day. I didn’t see what apparently he did in the locker room either.
“I know some guys weren’t happy. I know some guys might think it’s funny. He’s walking a tightrope, for sure.
NY Times Article
I want to be clear. This is not meant as an attack on all Serbian players. If you read this space you know I am a big fan of Jelena Jankovic and her mother. I'm becoming a fan of Ana Ivanovic. This is about one player and one player only. If he were American I would feel the same way about him. It's funny isn't it that the other golden child, Maria Sharapova, was in the Djokovic family box yesterday?
The top men, Nadal, Roddick and Djokovic are all scheduled to play in Thailand in a couple of weeks. The US press may not be watching but tennisheads all over the world will be. Let's see how Mr. Djokovic comports himself away from his fawning media buddies in the States. I'd like to be proven wrong.