Daniela Hantuchova, former world number 5 and great friend of Novak Djokovic, was in the Amazon Prime studio when the 17-time Grand Slam champion was disqualified from the US Open for accidentally hitting a line judge during his match with Pablo Carreno Busta.
The World number 1 was heavily sanctioned by the USTA, also due to the decision not to appear at the press conference after the incriminated episode. A few hours later, Nole apologized to the line judge and all of his colleagues on Twitter, making an appointment for the clay season.
The impression is that the aftermath of this story is destined to continue in the coming weeks. It was not the first time that Djokovic showed similar signs of frustration, having already risked such a sanction at Roland Garros 2016 (when he won his first and only title in Paris).
Hantuchova on Novak Djokovic
“It feels like sometimes the anger comes out of control,” Daniela Hantuchova said of Novak Djokovic. “I care so much about him and respect everything he is doing for our game, but I just hope there is a lesson to be learned, even if this one came at the worst possible time, where pretty much the only thing standing between him and an 18th grand slam title was himself, with all my respect to the other players”.
Hantuchova also shared the belief of others close to Djokovic, such as former coach Boris Becker, who believe the world number one is spreading himself too thin off the court. “So many times he has the right intentions, it’s just with the timing he’s not getting it right, like the Adria Tour,” Hantuchova said.
"There’s no problem with running an exhibition tour like that, just not when the whole world stops. Same with the ATP stuff. Sure things need to change, but not right now”. On the eve of the US Open, he found himself at the centre of more controversy after driving the creation of a new players' union.
Djokovic and Canadian Vasek Pospisil led about 70 players in forming the Professional Tennis Players' Association, with those joining unhappy at the ATP's governance and wanting to increase the power of the players.
Nadal and Federer were among those who opposed the new union and questioned its timing, while Britain's former number one Andy Murray called for WTA players to be involved.