Home » ‘Serbinator is Human Too’: Novak Djokovic’s Angry Young Man Persona Still Exists However Dormant

‘Serbinator is Human Too’: Novak Djokovic’s Angry Young Man Persona Still Exists However Dormant

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Just as it seemed as though there wasn’t a player on the tour at the moment to bring an end to the Nova Djokovic juggernaut, Wimbledon 2023 provided the anti-thesis to the rampant run of the Serbian, who managed to claim the title at all four previous editions of the All England Championships.

The holder went down in an epic five set final to 20-year-old Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who has not witnessed anybody from outside the traditional Big 4 of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Djokovic and Andy Murray hoist the Wimbledon trophy up in the air in exultation ever since his birth.

What is even more impressive it seems is the fact that the top-seeded Alcaraz accomplished the seemingly impossible task of getting the better of Djokovic in a five-setter.

And he also took a set away from Djokovic on a tiebreaker, which is a feat to behold and adore in itself, in the second set of the final despite dropping the opener in a tame fashion.

Ahead of the final at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, IBM, the tournament’s technology partner booked the era-defining final at a 55 per cent win chance to the Spaniard. But, the American tech giant’s indexing of the probable result, calculated based on the player’s ranking, seeding at the event, head-to-head record and recent form coming into the final, did seem like yet another time sport couldn’t be defined by mere numbers.

And the numerical estimates seemed to be washed away when Djokovic opened the final with a 6-1 drubbing of the young Spaniard and the 36-year-old seemed to be well on his way to levelling Swiss maestro Federer’s record of 8 singles titles at the SW19.

A win in the championship clash would have also drawn Djokovic on par with legendary Margret Court, the women’s player who holds the record of bagging the most number of grand slam titles across the gender divisions in the history of the sport at 24 titles.

But, even the best-laid plans unravel with unforeseen consequences at times and nowhere is it more evident than in sport.

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Alcaraz fought back valiantly, to the delight of the Spanish contingent present on Centre Court on Wimbledon finals Sunday, to claim the second set and level the summit clash in thrilling fashion claiming the tiebreaker 8-6.

The third set, however, was a rather straightforward affair, which the top-ranked player in the world, Alcaraz, claimed 6-1 in alarming fashion as he earned a double break to have a ser lead in the tie for the first time.

But, Djokovic hit back in the fourth, winning it 6-3 before blowing a kiss towards a segment of fans at the SW19 who whistled and boo-ed the 23-time major winner.

The stage was set for an engaging final set to decide the 2023 champion at the All England Club, and it did not disappoint. Despite, not being pushed to a tiebreaker, the fifth set proved to be entertaining.

Alcaraz broke the Serbian early and held on to each of his eventual service games to seal a famous win over the 36-year-old, who seemingly had a stranglehold on the grass-court major, thereby ending the ubiquitous reign of the traditional big 4 of tennis on the major in the English suburb.

What stood out in the post-match presentation was the manner in which Djokovic reacted to the final. The Serbian, who has aged incredibly well in terms of his sporting ability and his humanitarian facet, managed to hold it together despite the obvious disappointment of losing in a major final but broke down like a newbie succumbing to a superior force for the first time in a grand slam final as he started to address his child present in the player’s box.

What is it about emotions that make even the strongest, mentally and physically, go weak in the knees? What makes even the most accomplished break down in a puddle of teardrops when they confront their own feelings?

Researchers and scientists might be out there trying to find an answer that checks off all their parameter boxes on paper. But on the field, it all just boils down to pure passion. Passion for what you do and the love for your dearies. And on this count, Djokovic shall not least be forgiven, but be cherished for being a sportsman wearing his heart on his sleeve.

The player was once a point of discussion among the tennis-loving as he split opinions with his perceived haughty attitude as he was raising through the ranks after breaking into the mainstream. Bouts of arrogance and aggression early on in his career rubbed the conservative fans the wrong way, but he mellowed out with time and success.

Djokovic, who was once the hot head hated by a section at Wimbledon due to his short fuse of old times, turned the tide around over the duration of his long and illustrious career and won over the fans with his growing humility as he racked up title after title.

With time, his impersonations of legends and peers were received as funny and as moments of comic relief. Even his rebuttal to an Italian journalist in a stereotypical Italian accent was given a pass thanks to his clean intent and wily charm, as the Serbian embraced the media and the fans alike as they returned the favour.

However, we did get to catch a brief glimpse of the ‘angry young man’ phase still resident, yet recently dormant, of the 36-year-old in the final as he broke his racquet over the net post after surrendering a crucial point in the final. But, perhaps what was more resounding was the fact that a proven champion such as Djokovic, who has managed to surpass his one-time peers including the likes of Federer and Nadal in terms of sporting success, wallowing like a young lad duped of his most prized possession as he let his emotions get the better of him as he uttered his son’s name.

Like most psychology majors might point out, anger could be perceived as the manifestation of overwhelming emotions, however through an improper channel at times. Yet, this quotient of emotions and feelings is what makes us all human and what gives sports its sheen.

Alas, even the Serbinator is a human being after all. And what is the biggest weaponry in the arsenal of human beings? Resilience. And Djokovic has it in abundance.

A defeat in a monumental final could be a blockade that could bog down even the best of athletes psychologically. But, write Nole off at your own peril.

The man has overcome several hardships including wars to get where he is today in the pantheons of sporting greats and it wouldn’t be a wise bet to put it past the ten-time Australian Open, three-time French Open, seven-time Wimbledon and three-time US Open winner, who has managed to rewrite the history books time and again, while also managing to shush naysayers at every turn of the way.

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