Novak Djokovic: Bringing Manners Back To Tennis
I suppose it makes for good television and news feeds, but outrageous behavior on the tennis court is really not the kind of behavior that is acceptable to those who respect tennis' reputation as being the sport of the well-mannered. Seen not only in men's tennis but also women's, bad behavior started to become the norm in tennis and not only expected, but condoned by millions of fans.
However, the trend is changing and it is good. Novak Djokovic is part of that trend and people are noticing.
One Of The Good Guys
Thankfully,a new crop of tennis pros is bringing back the decorum and class of the bygone days of tennis. One such player is Novak Djokovic.
Novak is the current reigning Grand Slam champion. In 2015, he won his eighth Grand Slam title and is one of the most recognized names in tennis and ranked as the number one player in the world.
Born and raised in Serbia, he started playing tennis at the age of four. Recognizing him as having a natural talent for the sport at an early age, Jelena Gencic began coaching and mentoring him. A fellow Serbian, Jelena also coached other champion tennis players including Monica Seles.
Why He Is An Asset To The Sport Of Tennis
Novak is a gentleman. His public persona is one of high personal morals and standards. He values family and is humble when it comes to his fame and success. He is just naturally a good-natured guy who has a positive outlook on life as expressed through various interviews he often gives. He is good to his fans and the paparazzi, often seen giving autographs and posing for photos. He is playful and humorous and actively interacts when spotted on the streets. He does not present himself as a celebrity nor exhibits any of the "drama"that often plagues mainstream super-stars.
He also gives back to the country where he was raised, Serbia. He was named UNICEF's ambassador for Serbia and founded the Novak Djokovic Foundation which helps the children of Serbia in disadvantaged situations.
These positive traits carry over to the way he conducts himself on the tennis court and this is what the sport needs.
Nobody Is Perfect
Perhaps due to his immense respect for the game, Novak is very seldom seen breaking the etiquette of tennis. He is fiercely competitive but manages to conduct himself with courtesy and respect towards his opponents, officials and fans.
As with any sport, in the heat of competition, even the best behaved athlete may voice or show frustration and Novak is no exception. However,it is a rare occurrence for him. To say that he never shows anger or frustration is wrong. What he does do though, is to make a point of making heart-felt apologies when it does happen.
During the 2015 Miami Open, he yelled at his coaching team in frustration after losing a set to Andy Murray. In doing this, he startled a young ball boy who was handing a towel to Djokovic. Not meaning to cause distress to the boy, he made a public apology with a video via his Facebook page.
Apology and Thanking Fans
Bad Boys and Temper Tantrums
The unfortunate designation as a tennis "bad boy" given to tennis legends John McEnroe, Andre Agassi and Jimmy Connors is a moniker that may or may not have been accurate to their true colors but it did begin the tarnishing of tennis' good name. However it may be, a spotlight is directed at the sport whenever there are temper-tirade explosions, throwing of rackets and four letter words; and this includes behavior off the court as well.
Perhaps fame and the public expectations of celebrities is too much for some to handle. Fame sometimes comes on quickly and some are ill-equipped to handle it. But all is forgiven and life goes on.
“...the worst advertisement for our system of values since Al Capone”.— The New York Times of John McEnroe
A New Trend
This trend in bringing tennis back to a sport of classiness is refreshing. The public is growing weary of the bad behavior of sports and entertainment celebrities alike. The movement of the public expecting good and responsible behavior is underway and those in the public eye are finding out every day that their star will fall if enough people are put-off by their antics.
Sports stars and celebrities are role models for young people and most of them know that. Whether they care about that is another question. There is no doubt that Novak Djokovic takes that role very seriously.