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It is very amusing to note that there is a clear insurmountable fence between fans of Novak Djokovic and fans of Roger Federer. The two groups are mutually exclusive. For reasons I can’t completely comprehend, Federer fans dislike Novak and vice versa. Though I think that might have a lot to do with the contrasting personalities that Roger and Novak seem to be; the opposite ends of a spectrum. Novak is loud, flamboyant, effusive, aggressive. While Roger is soft-spoken, diplomatic, stoic, and very gentleman- like. Roger has style, Novak has aggression. It is this stark contrast in their fundamental personalities that clearly demarcates the two fan bases. I don’t think its because Roger fans feel threatened by Novak, and how dominating his game has become. That didn’t happen when Rafa came onto the scene a few years ago. Despite Rafa’s dominance over Roger in subsequent years, what is surprising is that even long- term loyal fans of Roger, never really got to disliking Rafa. We knew he was tough competition but somehow we all respected him. Even after he displaced Roger at the no. one spot, he impressed one and all with not only his game, but also his attitude on court, his demeanour, the niceness in his personality; we just couldn’t dislike him.  The same didn’t happen when Novak came onto the scene. What is it about him that makes it so difficult for Fedal fans to like him? His arrogance (although he has mellowed down quite a bit over the years)? His gestures on court (many believe that Roger’s reaction after his French Open semifinal victory over Novak was a mocking tribute to Novak himself)?

His not very well- mannered entourage (case in point, Roger asking Novak’s parents to keep quite during one of his early encounters with Novak)?

His tendency to imitate fellow players? Although some of those imitations are admittedly priceless, others can be pretty offensive and indecent (Novak apparently, refused to imitate Rafa when organizers at an exhibition match asked him to do so, citing the reason that the latter gets angry whenever Novak imitates him. Also worth mentioning here is the disgusting parody of Shakira and Rafa’s song that Novak performed with Victor Troicki on camera. In one word, cheap).

And what about Rafa’s following? In my opinion (as Rafa would say) everyone loves him. I am yet to meet a tennis fan who does not like Rafael Nadal. I think the guy is impossible to dislike. Please do refer to his post- Wimbledon final press conference for further reference. After watching that interview, I think I fell in love with Rafa all over again! The guy was so open, so brutally honest, so realistic in his assessment of his own game and Novak’s, I was super- impressed. The most priceless moment in that interview was when Rafa declared, with all his wisdom, that Novak’s form will not last forever! LOL!

 

Novak’s mom, has proclaimed the beginning of a new era in men’s tennis, one that involves Novak, Novak and apparently only Novak! Diehard Roger and Rafa fans have taken offense to this; some have even declared that if this was to indeed happen, they would stop watching tennis altogether. I, on the other hand, found it amusing. Although I do not have the gift of clairvoyance, logic says that one would have to be extremely naïve to declare that Novak would henceforth monopolize the ATP circuit. Rafa, Roger and Andy Murray are not gone yet. Andy is one stroke of luck away from becoming formidable. Roger is still the greatest ever, only now he has become unpredictable, and that’s precisely why you never know when he is going to strike back. And Rafa, well, he is playing almost his best tennis, all he needs is a little bit of confidence and someone to engrave into his subconscious that Novak is not invincible.  Now how long do you think that’s going to take? So once again, like Rafa would say, in my opinion, Novak’s mom’s declaration is premature, if not preposterous.

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