Summary: Manchester City - Arsenal 0:1 (FA Cup) (Sport1)
Roger Federer may not be the greatest tennis player of all time, but he is probably the most beloved.
His character is so pure and popular that even after retirement he earns significantly more sponsorships than any other tennis player.
Rafael Nadal, especially in recent years, when he plays with a broken body and the heart of a bull, is an admired and respected athlete, a perfect gentleman, who manages to eliminate you and remain kind and sensitive.
They are probably two of the most elegant athletes of the last generation, successful and beautiful, polite and gentle, role models, perfect.
It is so symbolic that the third side of the triangle next to them, is Novak Djokovic.
It is possible to examine only by the last two weeks how the treatment he receives is essentially different.
How do we take care of him all the time?
They are looking for him, harassing him.
They track every bottle of drink he receives from his team, implying that there are suspicious substances in there, maybe a note from the coach, some kind of violation of the law.
He is being teased about his father (who is indeed a problematic type, but it is possible that this time he really got into trouble through no fault of his own and was dragged into cheering for Russia with fans), how can a person not get angry when their father is being talked about.
It is said that he fakes injuries, and not on the petty suspicions of net surfers, but journalists from senior bodies.
Psychological wars are attributed to him, it is implied that he underestimates his opponents (this week he claimed that Tsitsipas never played in a Grand Slam final, and forgot that he himself beat him in the Roland Garros final after trailing 2:0), and everything is reported negatively and suspiciously, with a narrow eye.
Like a judoka, knows how to use the energies of his opponents.
Djokovic (Photo: Reuters)
He has been dealing with this attitude for years.
Respect and appreciation, mixed with enmity.
You can feel it in the tone of the questions at the press conferences, in their sound: they don't like him that much.
It's not just the media of course, he created some of the problems himself.
The matter of "faking the injuries" for example is a well-known issue.
Andy Murray shouted in one of the sessions in front of him "He does it every time!"
When Nola started to limp and made a pained face.
Djokovic's behavior at the beginning of the corona virus was very stupid and irresponsible.
He really hit a ball in the head of a linesman in the USA, before being thrown. The documents really raise the suspicion that he tried to "bluff" last year before entering Australia.
But it's probably a little more than that.
Perhaps Djokovic's greatest sin - beyond the arrogance of his family who call him "son of God", beyond the fact that he is from a country in the Balkans and not from the West - is the fact that he challenges the greatness of Nadal and Federer.
For tennis fans, this is unforgivable.
It is almost wicked on his part to beat this duo, to leave them behind, to pass them, to make them his runners and nothing else, to leave them only in the second and third places.
And it will happen.
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A symbolic moment, which left him as an outsider in the triangle.
Djokovic studied Federer Vandal (Photo: GettyImages, Julian Finney)
The separation between them was well felt at Federer's retirement party at the Liverpool Cup tournament.
While Federer and Nadal sat next to each other, clasped hands and wept together over an era that was over, Djokovic stood above them, somewhat distant.
He recognized that one had already passed away, the other had already measured.
He already holds a positive balance against both.
The pandemic thing is over.
Now he just needs to win some tournaments.
He has no desire to share the summit.
He is not like Nadal, who can be believed to be grateful for what he has achieved, that he will indeed be able to retire in peace knowing that he gave it his all and achieved far more than they ever imagined.
It is important for Djokovic to win this pair.
To be at the top, alone, and roar like the lion king.
Patrick Motoglu, Serena's famous trainer, knows what makes the difference.
"There are many players who think they are unable to beat Rafa or Djokovic. There are those who think it is impossible to beat them in Grand Slams. And what you cannot believe in, cannot be done. Very simple. And champions, they do not set limits for themselves. That's the big difference, and I always tell this story: When Rafa and Roger were outrageously dominating the tour, I talked to senior players in the top 10, and they told me that they thought it was impossible to win a Grand Slam. But a young man, 19 years old, publicly stated: ' I'm going to beat them!'. And that guy was Novak Djokovic. People in the tennis world said at the time, 'What a shame, how can he be so arrogant?', but it's not arrogance, it's confidence. And he was able to do it. Not because that he said it, but because he believed it."
Djokovic always finds more and more sources of motivation, more reasons that give him strength.
A few years ago he told how important it was to him to win a big tournament in the eyes of his son, today the boy is already 8 years old. Now he is coming to Australia after the nightmare he went through last year, and one can only imagine the rage he felt, how he experienced it as an injustice, how he gathered energy for a year Solomon to come back here and lift the cup, against their noses and their anger.
Motivation is not something to be taken for granted.
Ask Osaka, Medvedev, it's not easy and natural for everyone to continue with all their might, for so many years.
At the same time, beyond matters of motivation and faith, he is always ready.
Tommy Paul said after the semifinals how he had a game plan, and Djokovic just broke it.
"I wanted to play slices and make rhythm changes, but he made me miss. I wanted to serve and volley, but he returned so deep that I immediately had to defend. I wanted to hit drop shots, but he pushed me back, didn't give me a chance.
did you say something
Novak (Photo: Reuters)
Maybe for fans of the game it's a pejorative term, but Djokovic likes the "wall" image.
It's more than a player who returns every ball - it's his famous commitment, which has made him unbreakable.
After defeating Sebastián Korda in the Adelaide final, in a match in which he came back from a deficit and saved a match point, he admitted: "I enjoy cultivating the image of the player who doesn't give up, it's good that my opponent has it in his head that 'this guy never ends, that I can't be eulogized Never'".
Yes, he likes to get into your head.
Precisely because of this, it can be assumed that he is comfortable with the rude journalists, it is good for him that his father is insulted, as far as he is concerned, continue to suspect and imply that he is a fraud, accuse him of being boring, make him controversial and the bad boy.
The more they torture him, the more he will multiply and the more he will break out, he will always return another blow.
Tomorrow (Sunday) he advances to the tenth final of the Australian Championship, with the goal of obtaining the tenth cup in Melbourne and the 22nd Grand Slam in his career.
It won't end there.