Frenchman Jeremy Chardy has explained why a tennis can fan can support both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal but cannot support all the members of the game’s “Big 3,” which includes Novak Djokovic.
It was about 16 years ago back at the Miami Open that the Federer-Nadal rivalry was ignited before it went on to become one of the most iconic rivalries the game has ever seen. It was a clash between the grace and finesse of the Swiss maestro versus the power and relentlessness of the Spanish matador.
It was all about the “Big 2” for a number of years as they dominated the game giving fans some memorable encounters. This includes the epic final at Wimbledon in 2008 – widely considered the greatest match ever to be played.
Novak Djokovic entered the fray about a decade ago, and went on to conquer the game with ruthless efficiency and break the Federer-Nadal stranglehold over the game. However, despite all his achievements, the Serbian tennis star has never received the same adulation from the fans that the Swiss ace and the Spaniard get.
Chardy believes it is easy for a tennis fan to support both Federer and Nadal at the same time, but is certain that a Djokovic fan cannot support either of the aforementioned players. The current World No.1’s fan base seem to believe that their hero is treated differently to the two 20-time men’s singles Grand Slam champions.
“I tend to say that one can ‘like’ Rafa and Roger almost at the same time,” Chardy told French publication We Love Tennis. “(But) It is more difficult to like Federer or Nadal if one is a fan of Djokovic.”
The French tennis player used the rivalry between football teams Paris Saint-Germain and Olympique de Marseille to compare the animosity between Djokovic fans and that of supporters that back Federer and Nadal.
“It is so and there is nothing we can do about it,” the Frenchman added. “It’s like being a supporter of PSG and OM, it’s simply impossible.”
Chardy went on to reiterate his admiration for the 18-time men’s singles Grand Slam champion while revealing that he understands why the Serbian is singled out. He says that this is partly due to some of his misgivings while on court – possibly referring to his suspension at the US Open for accidentally hitting a line judge.
“Novak Djokovic is a huge champion, it is indisputable,” Chardy said. “It is especially some of his attitudes on the court that are singled out and that I can understand.”