Sports News: Novak Djokovic leaves no stone unturned in pursuit of perfection, but secrecy with drink mixture draws scrutiny





CNN

In his pursuit of greatness, it has been well documented that Novak Djokovic has left no stone unturned.

From changing his diet to incorporating meditation into his training, the Serb is constantly trying to find that extra edge to improve his chances on the tennis court.

His latest efforts, however, have drawn criticism.

In a video posted on social media, Djokovic’s physio Ulises Badio is seen preparing a drink in the stands during Saturday’s semifinal win over Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Paris Masters.

Badio is then shielded by two other men as he finishes preparing the drink, before handing it to a ball girl to pass onto Djokovic.

The incident has been described as looking “amazingly dodgy” and “bizarre” by two journalists on Twitter.

However, Djokovic’s wife Jelena has launched a vigorous defense of the 21-time grand slam champion on social media.

“I don’t see anything dodgy,” Jelena Djokovic wrote in one reply. “In fact, I see people trying to be private about their business in a world where everyone feels like they have every right to point a camera at you whenever they want.

“Apparently, wanting/trying to be private makes you dodgy nowadays.”

In one Twitter interaction, a user suggested Djokovic hire a PR agency to help avoid these types of backlash, an idea which was given short shrift from the tennis star’s wife.

“He will talk when he is ready to talk,” Jelena replied. “This whole nonsense about making people speak about something they are not ready because OTHERS are unpatient (sic) is absurd.

“Sit a bit in silence. Mind yourself more. Not everything you see is controversial. It could be private. Is that allowed?”

Djokovic was eventually defeated by unseeded Danish teenager Holger Rune 3-6 6-3 7-5 in the final of the Paris Masters.

It’s not the first time Djokovic has drawn curiosity over a drinks bottle.

During his victorious Wimbledon run earlier this year, Djokovic was seen inhaling from a drinks bottle. When questioned about it in the post-match press conference, the world No. 8 laughed it off and said it was a “magic potion.”

“It’s going to come out as one of the supplement, let’s say, lines that I’m doing right now with drink and a few other things,” he said.

“You’ll try it and you’ll let me know how it feels. You might win Wimbledon.”

With January’s Australian Open fast approaching, it remains unclear whether Djokovic, who is unvaccinated against Covid-19, will be able to compete.

He is currently banned from re-entering the country until 2025 after being deported before the start of the tournament earlier this year.

Last month, Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley said he would not try to convince the Australian government to allow Djokovic to compete in the tournament.

“At this point, Novak and the federal government need to work out the situation and then we’ll follow any instruction after that,” Tiley told reporters.

“It’s not a matter we can lobby on. It’s a matter that definitely stays between the two of them and then depending on the outcome of that we would welcome him to the Australian Open.

“(Djokovic) said that he’d obviously love to come back to Australia, but he knows it’s going to be an ultimate decision for the federal government.

“He’s accepted that position. It’s a private matter between them but we’d like to welcome Novak back – he’s a nine-time champion – provided he gets the right entry requirements into Australia.”

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