Novak Djokovic very likely might be the greatest player ever partly because he has sustained his high level of success for longer than anyone else. Sure, Jimmy Connors kept winning tournaments well into his 30s, but he was constantly ranked No. 1 and winning multiple Grand Slams nearly every year. Djokovic is special.
But Novak Djokovic also has a lot of people who do not seem to like him. This seems a bit odd as during interviews with current players, most of them seem to like the Serb. Many who do not like Djokovic seem to be random fans and random players who have not played a tournament in decades. This is the case with Adriano Panatta.
After Novak Djokovic was defeated by Jannik Sinner this week at the ATP Finals, Panatta, a former French Open winner (1976), said Djokovic taking a break to go to the bathroom and later having his sore neck rubbed by a physio should have been beneath the Serb. Panatta, who twice defeated Bjorn Borg at the French Open – the only times Borg lost at Roland Garros, even said Djokovic was intentionally wasting time and that what he did was something that Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer would never have done.
One former play does not like Novak Djokovic’s perceived attitude
We can debate whether Federer or Nadal ever did anything to try to disrupt the momentum of a player that was facing. Tennis is as much mental as physical sometimes. Any edge is important. Maybe Panatta, an Italian like Jannik Sinner, was simply miffed because he was heavily rooting for his countryman.
Panatta told Corriere dello Sport, “Have you ever seen Federer or Nadal behave the way Djokovic did tonight? I would have bet anything that he would try for the match to break the rhythm, he always does…First the bathroom, then the physio, he tries everything. I don’t like that attitude at all. Thank goodness Sinner doesn’t care, he stays there calmly.”
Maybe Adriano Panatta just needs to take a breath and relax. Sinner defeated Djokovic on Tuesday, the first time the Italian has beaten the Serb in four attempts. Panatta should be happy his guy won.