Novak Djokovic has been told his behavior on court is again responsible for missing out on a prestigious award.
The Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award is handed out to the player who conducts himself the best over the course of the year, with players voting from an ATP shortlist. Rafael Nadal is in the running for a fifth successive trophy, although he has a long way to go to catch Roger Federer’s record of 13.
Djokovic meanwhile didn’t make the 11-man shortlist and fans were quick to criticize the decision from the governing body. But former tennis player and now commentator Rennae Stubbs says the Serb will continue to be omitted unless he improves his behavior.
Responding to a disgruntled fan, she said: “Novak is not a great sport on court, he’s been defaulted, broken racquets, etc. among other things. He’s absolutely a gracious loser, I’ll give him that, but this award is for sportsmanship on and off court.”
“This award is for the player that exemplifies good sportsmanship all the time! U fans are dreaming if u think Novak is that person & he’d be the first to admit it. Not everyone is ice cool on court! He has emotions, I’m fine with it most of the time but he’s not winning this one.
“He has outbursts on court! Smashed the net at the French Open, threw his racquet that almost hit a ball kid in Serbia. I could go on.”
Stubbs was criticized for her comments by many Djokovic fans but former women’s No.1 Martina Navratiolva insisted she was right in her judgement.
Djokovic has had another tumultuous year but won the ATP Finals with a victory over Casper Ruud last week.
He is on course to play in the Australian Open in January after a visa ban was overturned after he was deported from the country before this year’s tournament.