The Third Man: Novak Djokovic. Djokovic. He is six feet two inches tall. He weighs a hundred and seventy- six pounds. His legs, gummy and striated, bring to mind a pair of Twizzlers. He is a lover of animals. With his narrow neck and solid pelt of hair, he looks a bit like Pierre, his toy poodle. He has a goofy sense of humor.
A few years ago, he became famous for his imitations. At an exhibition in Bratislava last year, he stuffed his shirt with sweat towels and hitched up an imaginary skirt. That was Serena Williams. He speaks five languages beautifully. He never met a meme he didn. The other night, after a match, he pulled an Afro wig out of his racket bag and danced to . He absolutely believes one hundred per cent in that kind of philosophy of life.
You attract things the way you think. You are what your thoughts are! He is Serbian, but he lives in Monte Carlo. After he won Wimbledon, in 2. Belgrade. He wore a white blazer.
The Third Man Novak Djokovic has emerged from the shadow of Federer and Nadal, but can he learn to act like a champion? The Tenth Man (1985) is a short novel by the British novelist Graham Greene.
It was the best night of his life. The President of Serbia told . At one point, a rumor went around that he had bought up the country. In addition to Wimbledon, he has won thirty- six other A. T. P. Open, and three Australian Opens straight. In 2. 01. 1, he played what some people think is the best season of tennis in history, winning seventy of the seventy- six matches he played and recording a forty- one- match winning streak. His play is plasmatic.
On October 4th, 1936, following days of frantic, last-minute organisation, a crowd of over 100,000 protesters congregated in London’s East End. The years from 1932 to 1935 were the foundation of Alan Turing's serious scientific life. The atmosphere at King's College, Cambridge, was highly.
Published manuscript transcripts . A Darwin manuscript on Hobart. Adolf Hitler's Olympic Village of 1936: Conservationists race to save the forgotten relic of the infamous 'Nazi Games' By Daily Mail Reporter. Harvard Law School; B.S.B.A., West Virginia University, Magna Cum Laude. I am grateful to Richard.
He seems to flow toward the corners of the court. He is an origami man, folding at the waist to dig up a drop shot, starfishing for a high forehand return, cocking his leg behind his head in an arabesque as he blasts a backhand down the line. He lunges, he dives, he beats his pecs.
His showy personality and subtle game are a niche taste. Haters call him Djokobitch. Jerzy Janowicz, the Polish player, said recently that he was .
This week, at Flushing Meadows, where he was once booed, Novak Djokovic will attempt to assert his sovereignty. The Friday before Wimbledon began, Djokovic was sitting at an outdoor table at Le Pain Quotidien, on Wimbledon Village High Street. He looked as though he. His clothes were from Uniqlo, his sponsor: trim trousers, blue leather shoes, blue linen blazer, good white shirt. His nose had caught the sun.
When he sat down, he said to the waitress, . The French Open is the only Grand Slam that is played on clay, tennis.
It is also the only Grand Slam that Djokovic hasn. But he had been out for seven months with a knee injury, and Djokovic, surging, had beaten him, for only the third time on clay, a month earlier at Monte Carlo. There was talk among the tennis cognoscenti about the prospect of his surpassing his 2. Over a gruelling four hours and thirty- seven minutes in Paris, Djokovic had failed to prevail by the slightest of margins. Up a break and tied at deuce at 4. The set, the match, and the coveted title soon fell away.
Djokovic had been so upset that he booked a last- minute vacation and retreated to Corsica with his girlfriend of eight years, Jelena Ristic. But now, resurfacing in England, he seemed at ease. The day before, he had played an exhibition match at the Boodles Challenge, in Buckinghamshire, against Grigor Dimitrov, a twenty- two- year- old Bulgarian comer known as Baby Fed.
The stands were filled with suburban women. During the changeover between games, the crowd had kept up a slow clap. As the noise mounted, Djokovic stood up. Like a magician revealing a marvel, he peeled off his top. Then he pointed at Dimitrov. It was a lot of entertainment and fun.
He was born in May of 1. Belgrade, which was then part of Yugoslavia. His parents, Srdjan and Dijana, owned a pizza parlor and snack bar in the mountain resort town of Kopaonik. Novak (Nole to his family), the eldest of three sons. What would you like to drink?
I might seem young, but I will be able to remember your orders. His father had been a competitive skier; the family was athletic, but racket sports were not a part of its repertoire. For some reason, the government decided to build a tennis complex in Kopaonik, an improbable development that Djokovic interprets as a sign of providence. Djokovic loitered around the courts until Jelena Gencic, a pro who had once coached Monica Seles, finally invited him to join her clinic. He showed up the next morning, and by the end of the week Gencic was proclaiming that . When he was eleven, NATO began bombing Belgrade.
Each night at eight o. For seventy- eight nights, they crouched in darkness, praying amid the screams of F- 1. Djokovic kept up his tennis throughout the bombardment, playing on cracked courts bereft of nets. Srdjan recently told the Serbian newspaper Kurir, . I could not sleep at night and I was walking down the street.
Sometimes the police arrested me. Gencic told Srdjan and Dijana, . Novak went to a tennis academy in Munich. Tennis, perhaps alone among sports, does not necessarily thrill to a hard- luck tale. It is an oddity of Djokovic. Along with Venus and Serena Williams, he is the player that a certain sort of enthusiast. The objection to him involves his extreme self- belief, supposedly unbecoming in a tennis player of his accomplishments, when it is the very thing that has enabled them.
Hydrangeas line the walkways. The hush is only more touching for being a parody of itself. Demonstrating the English flair for imposing class systems where informality might otherwise flourish, badges dangle from the lapels of men in panama hats, identifying them as debenture holders, or non- voting investors in the All England Lawn Tennis Club, which was founded in 1. The year he won, he crouched, plucked a tuft of grass from the court, and stuffed it into his mouth. I wanted to see how it tastes.
He had been spotted at a local Buddhist temple, meditating under a tree. An air of calm expectancy surrounded him. There had been a bumper crop of strawberries. The day before Wimbledon began, Djokovic was practicing on the club. The only chink in the tableau of steely professionalism occurred when, once the session was over, Djokovic toted away his shoes in a crumpled shopping bag. I asked Artaldi whether Djokovic had recovered from Paris. Djokovic played commandingly but dispassionately.
When a high short ball floated his way, he tapped it over the net, as though his challenger didn. He was a Mc. Kinsey man, hitting his percentages. His approach was scientific. He brought to mind a diagram on the side of a workout machine, isolating the necessary muscles required for each stroke, and no more, as he dismantled Mayer in fifty- seven minutes. In the second round, Djokovic faced Bobby Reynolds, a journeyman American making his Centre Court d. Reynolds told me later, .
The way to beat Federer is well known, if difficult to execute: hit high to his backhand. The same is true of the Scot Andy Murray, the third- ranked player. He has few tendencies. He can hit powerfully on both the forehand and the backhand sides, cross- court and down the line, with varying spin and pace.
In isolation, you might take Federer. Nick Bollettieri, the tennis coach, has called Djokovic .
But you have to be so precise. His quicksilver conversions of vulnerable moments have the added benefit of tormenting his opponents. Tim Mayotte, a leading American player in the eighties, who is now a coach at the Mayotte- Hurst Tennis Academy, in Queens, told me, . To be able to take points that feel like they. Open, Federer serving for the match at 5. Djokovic had fought his way back from a two- set deficit.
The crowd was egging on the rivalry while remaining, as ever, solidly behind Federer, the lordly seigneur of tennis for nearly ten years. Djokovic, with ice in his eyes, pushed his tongue into his bottom lip and gave a macho jerk of his chin.
Federer served wide into the deuce court. Djokovic swung and hit an impossibly angled cross- court forehand across the net. The sheer insolence of the shot seemed to rankle Federer into collapse.
Look, some players grow up and play like that. I remember losing junior matches, just being down 5.
It all goes in for some reason, because that. In the book, Djokovic calls his affliction the Curse, suggesting an unpredictable scourge, but it struck most often when his game was failing. In 2. 00. 7, Djokovic became the third- ranked player in the world. In 2. 00. 8, he won the Australian Open, his first Grand Slam. But no matter what he tried, and he tried a lot.
The Crassus of tennis, an eternal ankle- biter, he got little respect. The usually courtly Federer said, when asked about Djokovic. At a press conference before the match, a journalist brought up the subject of Djokovic? And a back? JOURNALIST: And a back. RODDICK: And a hip? JOURNALIST: And a hip. RODDICK . Do you get the sense right now that he is.
Common coughing cold. JOURNALIST: Do you think he? That seems to be what you. Afterward, he gave a courtside interview. In response to a boilerplate question, he said, .
Djokovic looked uncomfortably defiant, as though he had provoked a monster whose strength he had not quite known and now, a little scared, or sad, he felt forced to maintain his bravado in order to see out the fight. The interviewer noted that a New York crowd can turn quickly. Srdjan and Dijana were nervous about whether their many years of sacrifice were going to come to fruition. His longtime collaborators were . Literally, he would just go and basically stand on the court for an hour until he felt like I could possibly be appeased.
Every time Djokovic hit a shot, he would yell . He was playing Jo- Wilfried Tsonga, a French player who was then ranked tenth. Tsonga had won the first set; Djokovic took the second in a tiebreaker, and won the third, 6.
Then, in the fourth set, with Tsonga up 1. He ran to the locker room, sank to the floor, and vomited into the toilet. He lost the match after double- faulting at 1. Djokovic lost six points on serve in the entire match. Next up was Tommy Haas, his hitting partner from the weekend. Djokovic won the first three games in ten minutes.
Another demolition. Tom. Pummelling Djokovic with forehands to the baseline.