Novak Djokovic is aware of having wasted a great opportunity at the last US Open, which would have allowed him to reach 18 Grand Slam titles and reduce the gap from eternal rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. The journey of the world number 1 was abruptly interrupted in the second round, thanks to an accidental blow that ended up hitting a line judge leading to the inevitable disqualification.
The Serbian phenomenon has received a lot of criticism, made even more vehement by its choice not to appear in front of journalists to comment on the episode. After apologizing via social media, Nole returned to the Internationals of Italy winning the title for the fifth time and launching the challenge for Roland Garros.
Recently, former ATP number 1 Jim Courier broke a lance in favor of Djokovic, who has already paid dearly for the accident in Flushing Meadows (in addition to being disqualified, he was given a very heavy fine). Djokovic will have a few days to recharge his batteries before flying to Paris.
Courier on Novak Djokovic
“I think intent matters, Novak Djokovic clearly had no intention of harming anyone with the ball that unfortunately hit the lines woman in the throat. It was an accident,” Jim Courier told Tennis Channel.
“It’s one that he’s deeply sorry for. I don’t think it should be necessarily this great shadow that makes him all of a sudden go from a good guy to a bad guy,” Courier added. However, the American believes that the incident at that 2020 US Open would probably still be haunting Djokovic.
“Because he was defaulted in a Major, that he was going to win most likely, that’s why I think it will travel with him more so than, say, if it happened in Monte-Carlo,” Courier said. “If Novak [is a] zombie out there, which we saw for a couple of years where he tried to mute his emotions, and that wasn’t him, it’s not in his DNA,” Courier said.
“He needs to be a fiery player, an emotional player for better or worse on the court. That’s when he plays his best tennis. That’s who he is,” the American added. Djokovic’s disqualification sent shock waves across the tennis world, leaving this prideful Serbian astonished as he tried to digest what had happened in New York.
He made the wisest move possible by electing to appear in Rome, playing his first match on the clay only 10 days after his distressing incident in New York. Although he never struck gold and found his finest form, the fact remains that Djokovic conceded only one set in five contests, taking the title over Diego Schwartzman, the Little Big Man of tennis who had toppled the redoubtable Rafael Nadal for the first time in 10 career showdowns on quarterfinal day.