Novak Djokovic has been one of the most dominant players in tennis over the past couple of decades. His flexibility and agility are one of the main reasons behind his success in the sport. The 21-time Grand Slam champion’s style of play suits almost all three surfaces. He has claimed multiple trophies in all Grand Slam tournaments. However, his dominance on the hard court and grass is much more evident than on clay.
Having a chance to see him struggle on these two surfaces is very rare. However, there was a match in which the Serb struggled to enforce his dominance. It took place in 2013 in the grass-courts of London.
The Wimbledon shoe controversy of Novak Djokovic
Djokovic, during the semifinals of the 2013 Wimbledon Championships, against Juan Martin del Potro was slipping and sliding and hitting the turf more frequently than before. At first, many thought that Del Potro’s excellent shot-making to be the reason. However, later it was disclosed that Djokovic was asked to switch his shoes post his quarterfinals wine.
The former World no.1’s Adidas shoes reportedly had pimples on the sides of his toebox, which would have given him more traction when sliding. Therefore, following the Grand Slam Handbook’s rules which states grass court shoes “with pimples or studs around the outside of the toes shall not be permitted,” the All England Club asked him to make the necessary changes.
Though Djokovic, in the press conference after his victory, denied the correlation between his slipping and the shoe change. He said, “My shoes are fine. When you’re defending, especially the back of the court, it’s a little bit more slippery because there is a little bit more grass.”
Djokovic’s vaccination stance and its aftereffects
The nine-time Australian Open champion missed almost the entire hard court season because of his stance on not getting the Covid-19 vaccine. At first, he was involved in a legal battle with the Australian government and incurred a ban of three years. Thereafter, the US government, following in Australia’s footsteps, kept him away from participating in Flushing Meadows.
However, things seem to have taken a positive turn for Djokovic. As the newly elected government of Australia believes that it will be just a waste to keep him out of the upcoming tournament. Talks have been initiated and recently the nation allowed Michael Andrew, an unvaccinated swimmer, to participate in an event.