Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Tuesday Tirade: Don't Believe The Hype

by Savannah

So I lied.

I thought I'd finished my commentary on the US Open and that I'd rest my brain for the upcoming Asian swing and the European indoor season. But some things just need to be said, and disseminated.

I was doing my thing surfing fan sites when I came across a thread on Mens Tennis Forums dealing with comments Novak Djokovic's mother made after the Open. These were not remarks "overheard" by some kid lugging sweaty towels to be laundered. These were remarks made to the press and meant for attribution.

Srdjan and Dijana Djokovic

Richard Williams and Yuri Sharapov come to mind — you have to look at them in relation to their talented offspring and whether they are positive or negative influences in their children's world. Of course most of this is speculation — I don't know Venus or Serena, and I certainly don't know Maria Sharapova — but in this new world of tennis where the parents loom so large and are often their children's coaches and/or managers, the parents do need to be scrutinized from time to time.

The first comments that caught my eye were found on MSN in an article posted by Matt Cronin.
Djokovic's mother, Dijana, later said that her son is "better" than Federer and chalked up the defeat to a long season and inexperience.
It's no secret that I'm not on the Djokovic bandwagon. Apparently unlike much of the US press corps, I followed the European clay court season before Monte Carlo, Rome and Roland Garros. Any fan can do so. Almost every fan site posts live feeds which are readily available so that you can watch these Road to Roland Garros events. I would assume members of the tennis press would be interested in seeing what their anointed darlings are doing before they hit the major tournaments. If they had they would have seen their current favorite play Richard Gasquet in Estoril. If they had seen that match, they may have been a little less willing to allow themselves to be manipulated into thinking this young Serbian is the next big thing. I said at the time that that final was the worst men's final I had ever seen on any surface. I stick by that assessment. It is based solely on Djokovic's antics during the match. Suffice it to say, it was worse than what he pulled against Gael Monfils a couple of years ago at the US Open.

As one fan said, the press had better be wary of this young man and his family.
As has been mentioned earlier, ...(Djokovic) did a fine job manipulating the media...They ACTUALLY believe he is this fun, good hearted kid. If they watched him throughout the year, they would discover the dark underbelly that lies beneath.

And look at the leeway he received...has there EVER been a player who has not been at least WARNED for racquet abuse after throwing his racquet AGAIN and AGAIN throughout the two weeks.

We won't talk about throwing water all over the court, will we? Can you imagine what would have happened if any other player had done that?

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Nina said...

I think the problem here is not Djokovic but the way American media work. If there was no Djokovic, there would have been somebody else (remember Baghdatis hype?). Whoever gives them a good meat to chew on, they will make him/her the media darling. Djokovic is smart enough to realize it and how he can benefit from it. It is a win-win situation. If the player doesn't have media-likable-marketable personality, (regardless of how good their game is) he/she is very likely to be ignored by the American media. Davidenko and Nalbandian (when he was in top 5) are perfect examples of it.

Craig Hickman said...

I see your point, nina. But it's deeper than that.

Consider that Nadal has won Roland Garros three times, has been in two Wimbledon finals and has won three TMS events on hardcourts, has a winning H2H over Raja and Djoke and has been No. 2 forever?

Yet he's not being hyped as the heir apparent to Raja's throne.

And there's a very obvious reason for it.

oddman said...

Agree, nina. He fits the bill nicely - extroverted personality, not afraid to say and do outrageous things, whippin' off the shirt, the list goes on. JMac is in love.
Oh, and speaks English quite well.