I’m as sick of Novak Djokovic as you are, and as my colleague Grace McDermott wrote yesterday, we’d stop writing about him if he’d stop making us.
The Aussie Open draw took place, though delayed, with his name in it last night. And of course, as he is the No. 1 player in the world, The Djoker is the top seed. It’s still to be determined whether he’ll remain there, as the Immigration office is still studying whether or not to boot him.
Still, I think it’s pretty illustrative what Djokovic said when Naomi Osaka first said she didn’t want to do press conferences at last year’s French Open:
“I understand that press conferences sometimes can be very unpleasant,” he said.
“And it’s not something that you enjoy, always, you know, especially if you lose a match or something like this.
“But it is part of our sport, it is part of what we do, the media is important without a doubt. It is allowing us to have the platform to communicate with the fans, but in a more traditional way. It used to be the only way how we could reach out to our fans.”
And yet here we are, watching Djokovic trying to escape any consequences for his now multiple acts of defiance of the rules. Djokovic did his best to walk this back later, but it was pretty qualified.
“I support her. I think she was very brave to do that. I’m really sorry that she is going through painful times and suffering mentally, is what I have heard. I haven’t spoken to her, but it seems like she has been struggling. I wish her all the best, I hope she recovers. She is an important player, brand and person for our sport. So we need to have her back.
“This was, I must say, a very bold decision from her side.
“If she needs to take time and reflect and just recharge that’s what she needed to do, and I respect it fully. I hope that she’ll come back stronger.”
Whether Djokovic gets booted from Australia or not, I think this is worth thinking about hard:
He thinks he’s above all the rules. Both those women have had to learn they are very much not. Seems so simple.