Andy Roddick gives his honest verdict on public perception of Novak Djokovic

Ewan West
Novak Djokovic answering his doubters again
Novak Djokovic answering his doubters again

Andy Roddick has discussed how the public perceives Novak Djokovic and claimed “mainstream” fans were “mad” at the Serbian for breaking up Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal’s duopoly. 

The former world No 1 believes this section of fans “didn’t want” and “didn’t need” the emergence of Djokovic, while describing the tennis legend as a “cyborg robot.”

Djokovic has won a men’s record of 24 Grand Slam titles, while Nadal and Federer sit second and third on the all-time list with 22 and 20 respectively.

Federer and Nadal had won 12 and three major titles respectively before Djokovic claimed his first at the 2008 Australian Open. The Swiss and Spanish pair then secured 10 of the next 11 Grand Slams between them, until Djokovic broke their stranglehold – starting with an incredible 2011 season in which he won three Grand Slams.

Djokovic faced Federer 50 times, holding a 27-23 edge, while he holds a 30-29 lead over Nadal from their 59 encounters – a record in men’s tennis. Federer and Nadal, meanwhile, met 40 times between 2004 and 2019, with the Spaniard holding a 24-16 advantage.

READ MORE: Stan Wawrinka gives telling Novak Djokovic verdict as he answers GOAT question

Speaking on his Served podcast in a discussion with journalist John Wertheim, Roddick gave his thoughts on the way Djokovic is viewed by more casual fans of the sport.

“I feel like Novak Djokovic is the guy who broke up The Beatles. He is like tennis’ Yoko [Ono]. He is the one who we didn’t want, didn’t need. We had the rivalry, we had the lefty-righty. We had the contrasting styles,” the 2003 US Open champion said.

“Then all of a sudden, this cyborg robot, but also someone who plays with a lot of emotion, comes in and is like, ‘I’m not buying into the hype. I am complete. You can’t go through me, you can’t go around me. I’m gonna take the punches from these guys’.

“It was weird. It was almost like the kind of mainstream not tennis-centric fan was kinda mad at him for it.”

Wertheim also gave his take on the topic and argued comparisons between Djokovic and controversial American football player Aaron Rodgers are inaccurate.

“To the casual fan, they know him as the… ‘Who’s the Aaron Rodgers of tennis?’, and you want to say, first of all, Aaron Rodgers is an a**hole, this guy [Novak] is not. But also, there is complexity here,” he assessed.

“He’s a complicated guy, he’s extraordinarily bright… I just think, take a step back, has he done everything perfectly? He has not. At the same time, this is one of the great great sports figures of our generation and it’s about time people knew him for that and not for his decisions during Covid.

“If you love the fact that he does things differently, if you love the fact that he’s 36 years old and inviting you to Serbia for two hours without a minder to have an open conversation, you’ve to appreciate that there are other things he’s going to do that are off script.”

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