I don’t know why but Novak Djokovic has always reminded me of Cristiano Ronaldo and vice versa. Being an absolute tennis and football buff, I have followed both of them over their careers; but more I think about them, the more apparent their similarities become.
First and foremost, I think there are some athletes we love to hate; some who make us queasy about how to perceive them. Their personalities are rather similar too don’t you think?
There are plenty of people who swear by Ronaldo’s spectacularly quick feet and his prodigious talent. They call him flashy, talented, young and exciting. Isn’t that how we all describe the Djoker?
Secondly, both of them have a habit of polarising the fans and media, and being in news for all the wrong reasons.
Half the population wants to smear them on their toast every morning, while the others start dry retching at the very mention of their name. (www.timesonline.co.uk)
Talented they might be, but chants of “cheat”, “bluffer” and “drama queen” often drown the cheer they earn for their skill.
Both of them are also rather notorious for taking shortcuts. We all know Ronaldo’s reputation for ‘going down quicker than a $20 hooker’ was not earned lightly, as lots of YouTube compilation show.
I agree he does extract a lot of fouls from his opponents but you cannot deny that he REALLY does dive an awful lot.
In the 2004 Olympics, the man could have won a medal on the Olympic diving team just as easily as he did for playing soccer!
And then there is Djokovic. He might not be diving, but his extended medical timeouts, exaggerated excuses and lack of a killer instinct has been evident more than once – all of which point towards him not giving a 100 percent at crucial times.
Next up is their tendency to fake injuries. At this point the similarities between them become scary. We constantly hear about Ronaldo and his injuries; when most of the times they are just sore muscles which he leverages to get a few days off from practice.
Novak on the other hand has had almost every other “illness” he can possibly get. From breathing woes, to chest pains to heat cramps—he has had it all. And used it time and again to withdraw from key matches at grand slams.
Both Djokovic and Ronaldo also share a key personality trait – a certain cockiness which is more of a disadvantage to them than a merit.
Who can forget the incident when Ronaldo famously agreed with the FIFA president Sepp Blatter who described him as a ‘modern day slave’?
Excuse me Mr. Ronaldo, show me a slave who earns the amount of moolah like you, works for 90 minutes per week and resides in a mansion whose lavatory is bigger than most normal folks’ entire houses, and I’ll buy whatever you have to say! (www.timesonline.co.uk)
And then there is Nole.
Cockiness, arrogance and outrageous comments are fast becoming his second nature. In the US Open, he called Roddick "not a nice person" after beating the home boy convincingly. All this coming from you Nole? Someone who was everyone's darling by mimicking people endlessly merely a year ago?
These two athletes also have an unusual similarity—an ability to have love affairs with dreams. Ronaldo dreamt for the longest possible time to play for Real Madrid—something which probably every southern European footballer seeks to do some day.
Ronaldo and Real Madrid’s ‘will they/won’t they’ saga carried on for two and a half years and he and the Real president Ramon Calderon are still making eyes across the Channel at each other, all the while pretending that nothing is going on.
Djokovic had a different dream. A dream to be the best tennis player on the planet. Now by all means he should have that dream.
But then do we really see him pursuing it? No. Rather we constantly see him complaining about the attention showered on Federer and Nadal. He complains that he is often ignored.
‘I am a Grand Slam champion’ he demands; failing to understand that being a Grand Slam champion means displaying consistency and integrity, and above all a fighting spirit—when all your chips are down.
And lastly both of these players have a rather peculiar similarity of triggering off hate campaigns like no-one else.
If you do a random Google search of their names—innumerable hate clubs pop up. Ronaldo’s detractors reached an all time high after he head butted Rooney, egged on the referee, and then winked after Rooney was red carded.
He did all of this in a single match and to someone he considers a friend. The death threats from devastated England fans, fuelled by 40 years of hurt and an inherent distrust of flashy foreigners, were already in the post before Jamie Carragher had even missed the decisive penalty.(http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/2009/01/13/cristiano-ronaldo-why-he-s-the-player-we-love-to-hate-and-hate-to-love-115875-21038579/)
Although Novak has not done anything as dramatic, his cringe worthy impressions, his perpetual smart talk with the press and those embarrassing retirements have definitely triggered off a wave of hate and mistrust against him.
To add insult to injury, his family are a continuous source of negative press; making the situation really tricky. While Nadal and Federer are admired by all, what can we say about nole and his fans?
Although Ronaldo and Djokovic have so many similarities, there is a very important difference between them.
All that criticism notwithstanding, Cristiano Ronaldo delivers on that football pitch. And he has done that time and again, tasting the highest accolades a footballer can aspire for in the process.
Nole however has yet to reach his full potential. Although he he still young, I would hate it if he becomes another one of those players who had talent aplenty but lacked the winning attitude.