I’ll freely admit that my love for this sport is often skewed by wholly biased favouritism. If a player beat Hantuchova at a major (most frequently Sharapova or Serena but most significantly Ivanovic in the 08 Aussie SF), denied Federer another slam (Nadal and Djokovic), or simply replaced Tim in the timeline (Murray) then they’d be ripe for disservice in my bloated views.
Novak has the hardest time of all these aforementioned; the others have redeemed themselves in my subconscious through either the healing nature of time or by their old skool persona’s being preferable to what can be an all-too-robotic and PR-primed modern face of the game.
Novak will always struggle to win the hearts of the neutral masses, bluntly put: he just isn’t as likeable. He lacks the flair of Federer, the never say die attitude of Rafa and the triumph of Murray against such unique pressure and scorn from the British press.
Crucially too, he lacks the heart and emotion which the others project with at the very least a greater sense of sincerity.
Yet, the Serb’s subjective failings here should never detract (as they so often do) from the man’s achievements which even in this truly golden era stand out and eclipse those of Rafa and Roger.
I won’t list them all here, but Wikipedia does a good job of spelling them out.
Yesterday’s dominant victory in Cincinnati – Novak’s last remaining Masters 1000 title to win – was a masterclass in equally devastating defence and attack.
Federer was made to look his age in a fashion which echoed those Wimbledon finals of 2014 and 2015, the relic from the previous generation or two, having one last stab against an opponent with other worldly abilities.
Djokovic is undoubtedly back to his best, domination is surely on the cards once more. I for one will be sure to give the man more respect this time around.