Novak Djokovic US Open 2021

‘He wants people to love him’ – WTA star feels Novak Djokovic not ‘real’ like Rafael Nadal

Daria Kasatkina lambasted Novak Djokovic for wanting everyone to love him as she feels “the pretence is visible” and believes “Rafael Nadal is real.”

20-time Grand Slam champion irked many after his near fortnight long Australian Open deportation saga. Djokovic polarised the world when his medical exemption and visa was terminated after it was deemed insufficient and invalid.

After fighting the decision in court, it was revealed in the legal proceedings that World number one Djokovic was not vaccinated against Covid-19.

Whilst the initial decision was overturned and his visa was reinstated, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke superseded the courts ruling and Djokovic was deported just one day prior to the first Slam of the season.

With Djokovic absent, Nadal stormed to the final and battled from two sets down against US Open winner Daniil Medvedev to pip both Djokovic and Roger Federer to a historic record-breaking 21st Grand Slam title.

Speaking to Eurosport Russia, Kasatkina said “why be afraid to show the real you. If people don’t like who you are, okay. It’s better than when people like you for who you are not. It’s better to be disliked for who you are.”

She was then asked if she could name any examples on the tour, to which she replied “there is such a person – Djokovic. We all see how he wants people to love him. How he tries to do everything for this, but it does not work.

“Because in the end it still feels like something is not right. Rafa [Nadal] is real, he doesn’t smash rackets because he just hasn’t done it since childhood. He splashes out emotions in a different way – the same ‘Vamos’ of his is adored by many.

“Not many people like it when people try to seem like [something/someone] they are not. The pretence is visible.”

The Russian star then referenced fellow Slam legend Federer, saying “I have a calm situation with Roger. I accepted the fact that they [Federer and Djokovic] are both the greatest.

“Roger is an incredible talent. Plus, he hasn’t played lately, so it’s much easier to perceive. Federer didn’t piss me off after 16 years.

“Novak is a different story. He is a different person too. When Rafa plays with him, emotions run high. Especially when Rafa could not do anything with Djokovic even on clay for several matches. Then it was sad from hopelessness.

“But who would have thought that the [Nadal’s] 21st Slam would be in Australia. It is very symbolic and cool because it was Djokovic’s favourite Slam that he won.”

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.