'You can’t not respect a guy like Novak Djokovic with...', says legend

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'You can’t not respect a guy like Novak Djokovic with...', says legend

Doubts remain about the participation of various players in the Tokyo Olympics. As Japan declared a new state of emergency, Roger Federer announced its withdrawal to increase those doubts. However, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic recently made a gesture suggesting that he will not join the recall list.

Before the world sports show, the Serbian surprised a young fan on his sixth birthday. With Japan declaring a state of emergency due to COVID-19, fans will not attend the Olympics in stadiums. However, prior to this announcement, several ATP tour players had already announced their withdrawal from the quadrennial event.

This list includes high-profile players such as Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem and Denis Shapovalov, who are in the Top 10. Federer recently joined that list citing a knee injury following his quarter-final exit at Wimbledon. However, six-time Wimbledon champion Djokovic seems highly unlikely that he will join that list.

While doubts about his involvement existed before, the World No. 1 removed those doubts with a poignant gesture for a young fan. In the video, the Serbian wishes a six-year-old named Kojirou on his birthday through a video message.

He said, “Konnichi wa Kojirou! Happy Birthday friend! Happy 6th birthday! You look great. I'm following your tennis, your progress. All the best! I wish you luck and I hope to see you at the Tokyo Olympics."

John McEnroe on Novak Djokovic's achievements

John McEnroe believes a lot of unnecessary importance is being given to the aspect of popularity in tennis, especially to downplay Novak Djokovic's achievements.

“Grand Slam tennis is not a popularity contest," McEnroe said. "Being that guy everyone loves, the one everyone wants to win, does not get you the ‘W’. And that’s what it’s all about. That comes from supreme talent, multiplied by hard work, times infinity," he added.

"Hard work on every little thing – game, body, diet, mind. The complete package. It’s not a popularity contest." According to the 62-year-old, it is wrong not to hold Djokovic in high regard, considering his achievements in the toughest era of men's tennis.

“They might think you’re cold, clinical, boring," said the American. "Hey, they might think you’re a brat. It doesn’t mean a thing. Because what they will give you every time you step onto court – is respect.

Respect (to Novak Djokovic) for always being there, for consistency. For ferociously, relentlessly pushing for victory. You can’t not respect a guy with 19 (now 20) Majors, who’s won every Slam at least twice. You can’t not respect a guy who’s lifted this thing (Wimbledon) five (now six) times, who’s done it in the greatest era of men’s tennis ever. Period. This is not a popularity contest."