australian open 2015 ceremony
australian open 2015 ceremony

In dubio pro reo

If defending the weak, the poor and the oppressed is noble, than what is defending the strong, the rich and the successful? The answers might range from unnecessary, if you don’t want to insult me, to something like naïve or plain dumb. Whatever it may be, I’ll try here to do exactly that.

With the first gran slam of the season behind us, Novak Djokovic made history and became the first tennis player in the Open Era to win five Australian Open titles. A remarkable feat in every way, but what’s been bugging me the past 2 days is the post match press conference:


Instead of getting the divine reward from Nike, the messenger of the gods, the press conference reporters honoured Novak with a bunch of insinuations for acting, foxing injury, using gamesmanship, on-court theatrics,  etc. You could even say they’re questioning his sportsmanship. What happened was that Djokovic started having “physical issues” at the start of both the second and third sets. of the final as he stumbled and struggled to chase down shots. “Looking wobbly on his feet“, “Djokovic looked like a boxer on his last legs“, you get the point. Then after being 2 down in the third, the crisis was over and he went on to win the 12 of the last 13 games in about an hour. Guess the reporters were puzzled by this seemingly miraculous come back, probably forgetting a few others even more stunning:

or how about MJ scoring 38 points in the 97 finals, playing with a fever:

 

Anecdotal evidence aside, I wonder what kind of medical experts do these reporters consult when they ask for what’s physically/mentally possible and what isn’t. Dear press reporters would you please reveal your sources? I was watching a tennis tournament a few years ago, and think it was Tsonga who tried to hide the fact from the opponent that he was suffering, by turning this back while grimacing. Pretty sure Maria Sharapova does the same, and many other tennis players. Tennis is probably as much mental a game as is physical, where players try to impose their will onto the opponent. The more a player believes in him/herself, the stronger mentally his. Why would you give that for free to your opponent? Since when is looking week and wounded a winning tactic? Well, except in kung-fu movies  :)

 

Has this tactic been employed by any other tennis player ever in the entire history? By any other coach in any other sport? Even if this was the case, wouldn’t it be unnecessary risky to try in a gran slam finals, especially when Djokovic wasn’t in a desperate situation (1:1 in sets). He should’ve tried it first in a minor tournament, right? So, how did the champ respond? He just politely said he was “physically exhausted and needed some time to regroup”. Classy.