Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Personally, I have had just about enough of Novak Djokovic's cheering section and shamless pandering to the media. I know that he's trying to make a career for himself, and the US media is so predictably hungry for a "star" to replace its wayward obsession with Andy Roddick, who is clearly not the real deal, that it's easy to see why he and his "team" have been so successful in capturing the (absence of) imagination.

At the US Open it began with their incessant camera-begging gesticulations each and every time their little boy did something right on court. They're well aware that US television cannot resist the opportunity to invent the drama of on-looking family and friends, and with this crew, have taken it to a whole new level (I'm not going to say if it's high or low....let's just leave it at a whole new level). With the father leaning against the "ropes" screaming like he's winning the points himself, and the mother, biting her nails to a nub (wouldn't surprise me if her nail-polish were flavored, just to make the charade more tolerable) and a gushing Dick Enberg going on and on about the family, is it any surprise that they got almost as much air-time during the tournament as his opponents?

Then the disgraceful Serbian flag color stunt they pulled in the semi-final. Such shameless pandering, just so everyone knows they come from a war-torn country and had to dodge US bombs to fulfill their sons dreams, etc. But for me, the topper was their uniform in the final. All wearing Djo-ker-vic's Adidas costume, like over-zealous parents at an 8-year old's youth soccer tournament. Add on top of that the shameless shit-stirring stunt of "inviting" Sharapova to his box (which she eagerly obliged...I wonder why...) and the invitation of De Niro and his tennis-loving wife. That was truly the coup de grace, and disappointed as I was that he accepted the invitation, I can't help but chuckle at the equally conspicuous absence of the actor at the conclusion of the match. I'm glad he chose to get out of Dodge before the circus left town. Of course by then the damage had already been done.

I like Djokovic as a player - he's one of the few that I enjoy watching these days. He's got a good range of shots, has a lot of power, is mobile and has a good serve. He also displays good touch and feel with is drop shots and volleys although his power volleys could probably use some improvement...well, nobody's perfect. At the end of the day, I think he's as good as his results show, and it wouldn't surprise me to find him on the winning end of the Australian Open final in 2008.

But frankly I wouldn't mind if the camera spent more time on him and his opponents than it did on his posse.
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