Mixed emotions after Novak’s default


I was totally mortified when I saw the incident live on TV and fully supported the decision of the tournament referee to default Novak today. After having some time to reflect on what happened, I have mixed emotions like probably the majority of fans of tennis.

- On the one hand, I‘m very sad as this is bad for tennis, bad for this USO, bad for Novak and it puts an end to the great unbeaten streak he was on. I would like to see the Big 3 still continue to win many more majors as they still play the highest level of tennis if you combine physical skills and mental strength compared to other players. It is a pity that their streak of winning all the majors since the 2017AO has to come to an end in this fashion.
- On the other hand, I’m glad to see this major consequence to very unsporting and bad behavior of showing extreme anger on a tennis court. A tennis court is a workplace and there is a certain decorum and courtesy that should be observed just like in any other workplace and there are usually consequences to throwing temper tantrums in most walks of life when you are an adult. I was brought up with the belief that good sportsmanship is more important than anything else when you play sports and sadly, I see too many junior players and former high-level junior/college players not following this as they throw/break racquets, kick/hit balls, kick their bag, hit the net etc. in anger often enough to make playing them an unpleasant experience. Most players who learned tennis as adults seem to behave normally and it is the former top junior/college players who seem to exhibit the worst behavior on court as adults as they seem to have been infected with getting away with this kind of behavior when they were young. Hopefully, this incident will spark parents and many coaches to deal with their kids and students in a firmer fashion if they behave badly on a tennis court and can’t deal with the emotions of playing poorly or losing.

I am sad that Novak won’t be entertaining tennis fans including me at this USO anymore, but hopefully it can lead to some positive changes in behavior of juniors and other serious tennis players around the world. At the end of the day, we want tennis to help develop well-adjusted adults and seeing that there is a negative and serious consequence for angry, over-emotional displays of unsporting behavior can only lead to positive changes in at least some players including pros in the future. I for one would love to see tennis being played without any racquet-throwing and other displays of anger whether at my club or on TV including by Novak.