Novak Djokovic finished 2020 as the number 1 player in the world. He won the Australian Open and reached the final at the French Open. On the surface, it looks like he had a good year. But he was also involved in many controversies in 2020.
When the tennis season was shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic in June 2020, Djokovic organized the Adria tour. It was a series of exhibition matches in multiple locations and countries.
The event failed to practice social distancing and many players ended up with coronavirus. Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric, and Novak Djokovic himself tested positive for COVID-19.
Rightly, Novak Djokovic, as the organizer of the event was blamed for the fiasco. It took a while but Djokovic did eventually accept that the tour was ill-advised at the time.
Defaulted At the US Open
Djokovic was the overwhelming favorite to win the US Open. That is until he hit a line judge in the throat in his fourth-round match against Pablo Carreno Busta.
Djokovic frequently hits balls in anger on the court and had gotten away with it until then. When a player hits an official, the referee has no choice but to default the player from the tournament.
It cost him a grand slam title because he appeared to be in good form going into the US Open.
Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA)
Djokovic quit the ATP Player Council and started a new players’ association, named Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA). PTPA promised to negotiate better pay and benefits for the players.
But it could not have been timed worse. Due to the pandemic, the number of tournaments was reduced and the prize money was cut as tournaments could not have fans in the stadium.
Top players such as Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal supported the ATP. At the end of the year, it appears that PTPA didn’t get much traction.
Comments after a lopsided loss in Vienna
Djokovic lost to lucky loser Lorenzo Sonego 2-6, 1-6 in Vienna in one of his most lopsided losses in recent times. Before the match, Djokovic had wrapped up the year-end number 1 ranking.
At the press conference following the match, Djokovic said:
Yes, clinching the year-end number one had an effect on me today, I’ve done what I came here for, securing the number one. And I move completely fine with today’s result.
Djokovic’s comments didn’t sit well with Herwig Straka, the tournament director for the Vienna Open. Staka said, “I find such statements unnecessary. Even if you would think so, you don’t say that in any press conference.”