Not really, but tough to argue with success.
He bounces the ball a million times before he serves. His play is plasmatic. He seems to flow toward the corners of the court. He is an origami man, folding at the waist to dig up a drop shot, starfishing for a high forehand return, cocking his leg behind his head in an arabesque as he blasts a backhand down the line. He lunges, he dives, he beats his pecs. He once yelled—in Serbian—“Now you all will suck my dick!”
He is dominant, but he is not universally adored. His showy personality and subtle game are a niche taste. Haters call him Djokobitch. Jerzy Janowicz, the Polish player, said recently that he was “a fake.” But now, with the waning of the Federer-Nadal duopoly, which has fixated tennis for the past decade, the love he craves is within his reach. This week, at Flushing Meadows, where he was once booed, Novak Djokovic will attempt to assert his sovereignty.
Read a profile of the Djoker by Lauren Collins in the New Yorker.
Will Ree-shard Gasquet hold his nerve, or will Rafa Nadal crush him as usual? Will Stanislas Wawrinka ever emerge from the shadow of you-know-who? Is Juan Martin del Potro going to remain a one-slam wonder? Who is the world number one-in-waiting?
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Ooh, surprises! Not that surprising when you consider the talent behind them, but we like it when the narrative strays from the plot. We haven’t been following tennis since we released Roger Federer from his “obligations” (17 slams being an excellent return on our emotional investment), but if the US Open final is between Wawrinka and Gasquet, or Del Potro makes it to the Oz final, we’re going back to watching tennis.