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Monday, July 13, 2020

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic wife Jelena supporting husband at US Open

Novak Djokovic wife

There have been a lot of rumors surrounding Novak Djokovic lately, but his wife Jelena has been supporting him throughout his run at the US Open despite it all.

Djokovic advanced to the finals of the US Open for the seventh time and is looking to become a three-time champion at the event. He’s had the support of wife Jelena throughout the tournament despite all the rumors.

Djokovic said prior to the tournament that personal issues derailed him at Wimbledon, where he lost in the third round for his worst finish at a grand slam since 2009. That led to speculation that the issues involved his wife.

As a follow-up, the Daily Mail said Jelena was looking glum and left Nole’s opening match at the US Open early. They also noted that back in March, Novak was spotted leaving a club in LA with another woman.

If issues are going on, they seem to be resolved — at least publicly, because Jelena has looked like her usual supportive self, while Nole has played well despite sporadic issues with his shoulder.

Gael Monfils responds to John McEnroe, critics after loss to Novak Djokovic

Gael Monfils

Gael Monfils responded to his critics like John McEnroe after losing to Novak Djokovic in the semifinals of the US Open on Friday.

Monfils lost in four sets 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 and got off to a bad start at 0-5 in the first set. That led Monfils to try a different strategy, which resulted in commentator John McEnroe calling him out on ESPN for tanking.

Here is an example of what led to the comments:

It’s pretty clear to me that Monfils, having never beaten Djokovic before, mentally felt he needed to try something different because he already felt defeated, so he did something else. And it actually messed with Djokovic and helped Monfils win a few games in the first set, though he ultimately lost it.

After the match, Monfils responded to the critics.

“It’s part of the sport. I think people were expecting a tougher battle,” said Monfils.

“At the end, if I had the mic, I would say ‘stop saying that I’m unprofessional. The guy is killing me. Just embrace that the guy is too good for me and I tried to switch strategy.”

Monfils talking about Djokovic maybe being too good for him is evidenced by Nole’s 13-0 record against him all-time. This was Monfils’ best showing ever at the US Open, even if his performance in the semifinal didn’t reflect well on him. There were questions about his effort as both players struggled with humidity, with Djokovic even getting his shoulder checked.

Here is what Monfils had to say about the criticism from McEnroe:

We’d also like to hear Monfils’ response to ESPN’s LZ Granderson.

LZ Granderson goes off on Gael Monfils for losing to Novak Djokovic

LZ Granderson

ESPN tennis analyst LZ Granderson must be a serious sucker if he was this disappointed about Gael Monfils’ loss to Novak Djokovic in the semifinals of the US Open on Friday.

Monfils lost to Djokovic in four sets — 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 in what amounted to the Frenchman’s best ever showing at the US Open. After the match, which Granderson found disappointing, the ESPN analyst got really passionate about how let down he was and “flabbergasted” at the result.

Umm, does LZ even do any research? Monfils entered the match 0-12 all-time against Djokovic and is now 0-13 against him.

Does LZ get disappointed and disgusted when the Browns can’t beat the Patriots or when Army loses to Notre Dame for the 60th time in a row? Obviously Monfils is still a top-15 player — he was seeded 10th for this event — but let’s put things in perspective. Monfils had only made it past the quarterfinals of a major ONCE prior to this US Open. Monfils losing to the world’s No. 1 player, who has already won two grand slam events this year and is 12-0 against Monfils all-time, should be expected, not a letdown.

Next you’re going to tell me LZ gets disappointed when Maria Sharapova gets steamrolled by Serena Williams in the finals of grand slams.

Novak Djokovic says ‘private issues’ cost him chance of grand slam

Novak Djokovic celebration

Novak Djokovic appeared unstoppable at the start of the grass court season, but since then, a significant dip in form has seen his chances at a calendar year grand slam evaporate.

Djokovic said following the U.S. Open draw that mental issues were his downfall at Wimbledon, stemming particularly from some things that were happening in his private life.

“It was nothing physical, it was not an injury,” Djokovic said at the draw, via Leo Schlink of the Herald Sun. “It was some other things that I was going through privately. But it was nothing linked to the wrist injury I got in Rio.

“We all have private issues and things that are more challenges than issues, things we have to encounter and overcome in order to evolve as a human being. That was the period for me. Was resolved and life is going on like everything else.”

He did say that his loss at the Olympics was due in part to a wrist injury that he is still battling.

Djokovic lost shockingly to Sam Querrey at Wimbledon, and there was significant speculation about Djokovic’s wife Jelena in the British press at the time. That was likely a factor.

It’s been an odd year for Djokovic. He had to face a bit of controversy over some comments he made earlier in the season, and it’s been a struggle since Wimbledon. He’ll try to turn things around at Flushing Meadows, where he has won twice in his career, including 2015.

Novak Djokovic argues with umpire Damian Steiner over court condition

Novak Djokovic umpire

Novak Djokovic had a tough day with chair umpire Damian Steiner during his loss to Andy Murray in the finals of the Rome Masters on Sunday.

Nole fell in straight sets 6-3, 6-3 to Murray and had some exchanges with Steiner. First he got a warning for throwing his racket in the second set, and then he argued with the umpire over the court conditions.

You can hear Djokovic lobby for a delay in action because of what he deemed unsafe court conditions:

Murray agreed about the court conditions and understood Nole’s frustrations.

Djokovic, meanwhile, elaborated on his issues with Steiner.

“These kind of matches are important for both players,” he said after the match via The Guardian. “There is a lot at stake. When you play a rival, and of course you want to win, sometimes you get too emotional.

“I threw a racket, it bounced over the fence and I got a warning instantly. So the chair umpire was on fire today. He really wanted to show his authority to me. So congratulations to him.”

Losing the match no doubt played a big role in the Serb’s frustration.

Novak Djokovic issues statement in response to controversy

Novak Djokovic celebration

Novak Djokovic issued a statement on his Facebook page Tuesday to address a controversy caused by his comments about gender and equal pay.

The world No. 1-ranked tennis player responded to the Indian Wells CEO’s sexist remarks about women riding the coattails of men. Djokovic said men deserve a greater share of prize money at combined events currently because metrics show they are bigger draws. Many took his statement to mean that Djokovic thinks men deserve more money because they are men. That obviously led to tons of negative publicity and responses.

Djokovic posted this statement on Facebook as a clarification:

Dear all,
I typically use this page to share my excitement with you, especially after big wins.

But this time I had to take a few deep breaths before addressing you. As you may have seen, I was asked to comment on a controversy that wasn’t of my making. Euphoria and adrenalin after the win on Sunday got the best of me and I’ve made some comments that are not the best articulation of my view, and I would like to clarify them.

As you all know, I care deeply about the future of the game and all of the players. Tennis helped me so much in my life and being where I am today, I felt the need to speak about the fairer and better distribution of funds across the board – this was meant for both men and women. We all have to fight for what we deserve. This was never meant to be made into a fight between genders and differences in pay, but in the way all players are rewarded for their play and effort.

Tennis is a sport that I love and that gave me the opportunity to help others who still have a long way to go to achieve their dreams. This was my view all along and I want to apologize to anyone who has taken this the wrong way.

Djokovic is not necessarily backing down from his position; he is just trying to clarify things. What got cut out of his comments were that he feels the split of money should be based on metrics such as fan interest. He even said if it’s shown women are more popular, they should get a greater share of prize money than men.

Even with his clarification, that problem won’t stop someone like Serena Williams from smacking him down and thinking he’s sexist. I explain in more detail here why he is not.

Serena Williams gets Novak Djokovic comments on gender wrong

Serena Williams finger wag

Serena Williams on Tuesday responded to Novak Djokovic’s comments on pay by gender in tennis by asking how he would explain his comments to children. Though Williams gave strong comments, her remarks indicate she may not have heard the entirety of Djokovic’s remarks.

The debate about equal pay was renewed when Indiana Wells CEO Raymond Moore made some sexist remarks saying women should be on their knees being thankful that some popular men came along to help the sport of tennis. His remarks were inappropriate, offensive, and ignored the accomplishments and contributions any popular female players made to the sport over time.

Though world No. 1 male player Djokovic did not say women should be on their knees thanking the men, he did say he felt for combined events that pay should not just outright be equal, but rather based on who the bigger draw is and who’s bringing more money into the pot. He even said that if women were more popular and doing bigger ratings, they should receive MORE pay than the men.

He did not argue for men to be paid more simply because they are men; he said he wants the pay to be based on metrics of interest in the sport.

“I think that our men’s tennis world, ATP world, should fight for more because the stats are showing that we have much more spectators on the men’s tennis matches,” Djokovic said. “I think that’s one of the, you know, reasons why maybe we should get awarded more. Women should fight for what they think they deserve and we should fight for what we think we deserve.

“I think as long as it’s like that and there is data and stats available and information, upon who attracts more attention, spectators, who sells more tickets and stuff like that, in relation to that it has to be fairly distributed.”

Djokovic did not say nobody wants to watch women or that they aren’t draws. He just wants more because he thinks he’s a bigger draw currently. It’s a fluid matter, not a statement that men should now, always and forever be paid more than women because they are men.

However, Serena’s response indicated she did not listen or hear Djokovic’s comments.