In a large parts of the collective imagination of tennis lovers, Novak Djokovic is the villain, the anti-hero or the antagonist to Roger Federer Federer and Rafael Nadal. Whenever the Serb plays against Roger or Rafa, he always has the crowd cheering for his opponent.
Even when Nole plays against other opponents, he often doesn't have the same support as his two rivals get. The good and the evil, where Djokovic, in spite of himself, plays the part of the villain, the man who always tries to spoil the plans of the heroes Rafa and Roger.
It was also seen in the last Wimbledon final, when the Serb played for almost five hours with the Centre Court crowd roaring at every point Federer won. It cannot be simple and maybe Djokovic's early-career attitude did not help him to receive the favors of the crowds.
Over time Federer and Nadal, as if they were the heroes of a Disney fairy tale, received the unconditional love of the crowds. Federer in particular has polarized the love of crowds for years, becoming one of the most loved and supported sportsmen in history.
An enviable role for everyone. Feeling the cheering (with the exception of Djokovic's fans) of all the fans in all the tournaments is rewarding. Federer succeeded in this achievement thanks not only to his elegance on and off the courts, but also thanks to his charm and that fascinating something he manages to convey both when he plays and in his private life.
Djokovic for years was looking for that gratification that crowds always reserved for Federer and Nadal. He never completely succeeded in this. What does the Serb have to do to get the same love that fans have for Roger and Rafa? What should he do more after a career that deserves the same recognition as that of the other two rivals? Now little or nothing.
The crowds have elected their heroes and antagonists. Not for all but for a large part Federer is the hero, Djokovic the villain. And the victories that the Serb got against the Swiss, especially in the three Wimbledon finals, turn out to be a further source of affection for Roger.
Djokovic deserves the same love that Federer and Nadal receive. The Serb's attitude, what it was, should not affect a final judgment. But this antagonism is part of the game: the fans always have their favorites and their antagonists and it seems that the roles are now very clear.