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OpinionsFor Novak Djokovic, the game is on, it is not the ‘Beginning...

For Novak Djokovic, the game is on, it is not the ‘Beginning of the End”


The Tennis legend cannot be written off just because of Australian Open defeat

By Tirthankar Mitra

The verdict was passed when 36-year old Novak Djokovic, a colossus in the of tennis lost to 22-year Jannik Sinner at the semi final of Australian Open recently. It confirmed the judgement of the crowd which passed the “beginning of the end” verdict when Carlos Alcaraz (19) blew him off the Wimbledon turf last year.

Post Australian Open reverse, instant decision making fans are of the view that the greatest ever tennis player is past his prime. The 20-something Gen-next had caught up; it is curtains for the Djokovic era. But then stadiums are kangaroo courts infamous for their hasty judgments. Yet it can be stated to be a divided verdict if a veteran's take is anything to go by.

“When you get older, the bad days get worse” Martina Navratilova, an ageless champion said. Reverting to cold logic, be it a tennis champ or a 9 to 5 executive, who does not have a bad day at work!?

Ageing superstars are tetchy especially after defeat to an younger opponent. Asked if age was catching up after the Australian Open defeat, Djokovic neither fumed nor came up with a smart snub. The Serb, father to a 9 year old did not make a headline reply. He said “ I hope not, but I don't know, time will tell”

One wonders whether this was the shadow of the Father Time falling on him Or was it Djokovic trying to buy time with one of his clever mind games? In his 30s, Djokovic is playing tennis like no other player before him. He could not care less if some crystal ball gazers are writing him off.

fans are instant decision makers. . They assume the role of the judge and the jury. It is upto Djokovic to confront the age question. No bystander can do it. Subtle changes are perceptible in Djokovic even as another school is of opinion that it is too early and unwise to declare him to be a player in decline. He is no longer his “bitter” and “driven” self as number three tennis player in the world vying to reach the top spot. He does not smash rackets any more. Nor does he fight with umpires. Djokovic is friends with his young rivals these days. He is the darling of the crowd as the ageing champion.

Unforeseen emergencies being a part of Djokovic's growing up at Belgrade when erstwhile Yugoslavia was in violent disintegration in the 1990s. Ethnic cleansing led to mass migration and deaths. Those have steeled him in a way no other rival can recall. His coach would second -guess the bombing target to decide which court young Novac would train even as NATO fighter screamed overhead.

Asked after his Wimbledon defeat “Is he cranky ?” his coach GoranIvanisevic replied “At training, he is always cranky” Within months Djokovic would beat Alcaraz at Cincinnati Masters; somewhere in the world the cranky Djokovic and wide old Ivanisevic must be chalking out a plan to defeat Sinner.

(IPA Service)





The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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