Coach offers Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal reason Novak Djokovic is ‘hated’
Djokovic celebrates after ending year as world no.1
Serena Williams’ ex-coach has claimed that Novak Djokovic’s breaking up of the duopoly of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in men’s tennis left him ‘hated’. The Serbian legend matched Margaret Court’s long-standing record of 24 Grand Slams after winning the 2023 US Open.
The 37-year-old has showed that age is no barrier to success during another memorable year, adding the Australian Open and French Open to his haul alongside his historic win at Flushing Meadows. He also passed 400 weeks at the summit of the ATP rankings to break an all-time record.
Despite his outstanding achievements on court, it appears that Djokovic remains a divisive figure among spectators, with his recent appearance at the ATP Finals an example of this. The veteran superstar endured some boos and jeers at the event in Turin, Italy – which he resonded to with sarcastic clips towards his critics.
Now, ‘super-coach’ Patrick Mouratoglou, who currently counts former world number one Simona Halep as a client, has reflected on the mercurial reception that the star still receives from crowds. The former right-hand man of Holger Rune and Stefanos Tsitsipas theorised that his lack of popularity could be something to do with the love reserved for the players he usurped at the top of the game.
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Explaining his reasoning, he contended that crowds simply loved Djokovic’s perennial rivals Nadal and Federer more than him at the height of their respective rivalries. Suggesting this has left a legacy, he told Ultimate Tennis Showdown in London: “Rafa and Roger were the biggest superstars of tennis, but Novak Djokovic came in and beat both of them and the crowds hated him for that.
“I think he is booed for other reasons as well,” he continued, hinting that Djokovic enjoys his role as an effective pantomime villian. “He says he doesn’t like this negativity, but sometimes he pushes the crowd to boo him because it helps him during the matches.”
This aside, Mouratoglou went on to point out that any sugggestion the Serbian star is unpopular may be wide of the mark on account of his social media presence. He added: “What we should not forget is has 14 million followers on Instagram. He is a huge hero in Serbia. He is the biggest name in tennis and we will all miss him when he stops playing the sport.”
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Previously speaking to Tennis365, he expressed his admiration for Djokovic’s achievements across the previous two decades. In glowing terms, Mouratoglou said:”The records speak for themselves. He has beaten every record.
“[He] is now by far the greatest tennis player of all-time. If you consider that he is coming up to his 37th birthday in 2024, it seems crazy that he is still winning this much.
“To have a record like this, you have to be able to win the biggest titles consistently for 20 years and we haven’t seen this before in too many sports. Your opponent can get sick or injured, and you have a day when a guy plays great against you and that can be the end, but Djokovic has shown he knows how to win when it is best of five sets.”
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