‘Novak Djokovic is no longer there to please fans’, claims tennis great

Novak Djokovic crowd Paris

Tennis legend Justine Henin has asserted that Novak Djokovic is “no longer there to please” the public and feels this approach “still appeals to a lot of people.”

The seven-time Grand Slam champion described Djokovic’s ability to “cut short what is happening” and “remobilize himself” in relation to the crowd as “very intelligent.”

Djokovic earned a convincing 6-4, 6-3 victory over Grigor Dimitrov in the final of the 2023 Paris Masters on Sunday to claim a record-extending seventh title at the tournament.

The Serbian great overcame Tomas Martin Etcheverry, Tallon Griekspoor, Holger Rune and Andrey Rublev en route to the final in Paris – with the latter three opponents all pushing him in three-set battles.

The triumph was a remarkable 40th ATP Masters 1000 crown for Djokovic, a record tally for the 36-year-old ahead of his great rival Rafael Nadal, who has won 36 and sits in second place on the all-time list.

Djokovic has claimed six titles during a superb 2023 campaign so far, including three Grand Slams with victories at the Australian Open, French Open and US Open.

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Speaking as an analyst for Eurosport, former world No 1 Henin discussed Djokovic’s relationship with the crowd during matches, which was a prominent theme at the Paris Masters.

“We know that it is not always pleasant to have the public who, all of a sudden, become hostile and support the opponent. And very intelligently, he cuts short what is happening and at the same time he remobilizes himself. He has a lot of experience at this level,” said the Belgian, who retired in 2011.

“But I still think that in relation to this question of the public, he is distancing himself more and more, he is no longer there to please, he is there to play and win and I think that by finally doing so, it still appeals to a lot of people.”

Djokovic will next compete at the ATP Finals in Turin next week, where he is aiming to win a record seventh title at the year-end championships. He currently shares the record of six triumphs at the event with former rival Roger Federer.

The world No 1 defeated Casper Ruud in the final at last year’s edition of the ATP Finals to win the tournament for the first time since 2015.

The 36-year-old will also feature for Serbia at the Davis Cup Finals knockout stage in Malaga later month as he looks to lead his nation to a second title in the team competition. Serbia will face Great Britain in the quarter-finals, with the Finals stage to be played from November 21 to 26.

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