These days, men’s tennis is divided. It is a division that, surprisingly, is not directly caused by the players. The competitors still stand together on issues that pertain to their best interests.
The rift is in reference to fans. Tennis fans have become separated into fan bases like they rarely have in the past.
The two players are outstanding rivals on the tennis courts yet good friends off the courts. When it comes to each athlete’s fans, it is the complete opposite: Forums and tennis websites all over the Internet have become longstanding debates and battles between the two fan bases.
This fan rivalry has quite possibly increased interest in the sport just as much as the on-court rivalry and legendary matches between the two have. Nowadays, when talking about tennis, one will see people claiming support for either player as if they were professional sports teams instead of individual athletes.
The tennis world has also seen the rise of Novak Djokovic as arguably the most dominant player in the game in the last two years. With his rise in prominence, he has acquired his own strong and vocal fan base.
The three followings have boasted their favorite players’ triumphs and mocked each of their opponents upon defeat. Tennis fans are clearly divided into three sects and cannot seem to truly agree on much, except for one single player: Juan Martín Del Potro.
Del Potro, an Argentine tennis player, seems to be one of the few talking points on which fans of all three main anchors of the sport agree on. Many Federer, Nadal or Djokovic fans cheer for Del Potro in a match in which their favorite player is not playing or in a tournament once their preferred player has been eliminated from a tournament.
It is hard to find someone who does not admire or like Del Potro, both among players and fans.
He is one of the classiest and most respectful athletes on tour, as his actions immediately following his victory against Andy Roddick in the fourth round of the 2012 U.S. Open show. He always recognizes and celebrates his opponent’s achievements, as well.
For some reason, fans of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic often doubt their favorite’s opponents’ honesty, but none seem to doubt Del Potro.
It also does not hurt that Juan Martín Del Potro is one of the top players in the game and is expected to win several titles by the time his career is over. It should not surprise anyone if, once Federer, Nadal and Djokovic leave the tennis courts forever, the fans of each flock to Del Potro. He is quite possibly one of the overall best-liked players on tour who may unite men's tennis.