Novak Djokovic behaviour attacked in Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal comparison
Adriano Panatta has attacked Novak Djokovic for his behaviour during his 2023 ATP Finals defeat to Jannik Sinner and questioned whether Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal have ever acted the same way.
The 1976 French Open champion accused Djokovic of trying everything to break the rhythm of the match and declared he does “not like that attitude at all.”
The Italian’s comments are strange, though, given there were no significant delays during the thrilling contest. Djokovic took a bathroom break within the time limit of a changeover and briefly received treatment on his neck, which had appeared to be causing him discomfort.
Sinner earned his first victory against Djokovic in the pair’s fourth meeting with a 7-5, 6-7(5), 7-6(2) triumph in a pulsating round-robin encounter at the ATP Finals in Turin on Tuesday night.
The world No 4 is now in a strong position to progress to the semi-final stage of the tournament, having downed Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets in his opening match.
The 22-year-old Italian will face Holger Rune in his final match in the Green Group on Thursday night, with a win guaranteeing he will advance.
Djokovic’s situation is in the balance and he will likely need to beat alternate Hubert Hurkacz, who has replaced the injured Tsitsipas, in his third match on Thursday afternoon.
Speaking to Corriere dello Sport, Panatta hit out at the great Serbian following his defeat to Sinner and claimed his two great rivals behaved better on court.
“Have you ever seen Federer or Nadal behave the way Djokovic did tonight? I would have bet anything that he would try for the match to break the rhythm, he always does,” said the 73-year-old Italian.
“First the bathroom, then the physio, he tries everything. I don’t like that attitude at all. Thank goodness Sinner doesn’t care, he stays there calmly.”
Panatta’s criticism of Djokovic should, perhaps, not be a great surprise given he has suggested previously he is not the biggest fan of the world No 1.
Following Djokovic’s record-breaking 23rd Grand Slam triumph at the 2023 French Open, Panatta was unmoved by the Serbian’s achievement and insisted Federer remained the ‘GOAT.’
“For me, nothing changes – Roger Federer is the greatest. It’s not just a matter of aesthetics. And not even of statistics, which they like so much but leave the time they find,” said Panatta an interview with Corriere della Serra.
“Let me explain better – in the few years that he has played, [Bjorn] Borg has concentrated more Grand Slam victories than Djokovic, Nadal and Federer combined.”
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