Tennis journalist Jon Wertheim cited the example of Serena Williams to stress that players should not be defined by their regrettable actions.
Ahead of the 2023 US Open, former world No. 4 Johanna Konta claimed it was “fashionable” to dislike Novak Djokovic, citing his apparent lack of popularity among fans. However, Wertheim refuted Konta’s claims and claimed the Serbian’s popularity with fans is currently at its peak.
He also noted that there are two extreme types of fans, those who are unwavering in their support of players and those who remain “die-hard haters” no matter the circumstances.
He told Sports Illustrated (SI): “Some fans are unconditional and unconditional in their support. Some fans are die-hard haters and unwilling to move away from their negative stance.”
Wertheim believes that the views of most fans and media are more adaptable and can be adjusted to the situation. To prove his point, he cited Serena Williams’ outburst in the 2009 US Open semifinals against Kim Clijsters, saying that while she was an excellent athlete , but her “greatness” does not exempt her from the criticism she received for the incident.
However, he also emphasized that her regrettable behavior should not diminish the countless good deeds she has performed throughout her career.
“But I would reply that most fans and the media don’t fixate on their opinions and adjust them accordingly. Serena Williams is phenomenal. When she threatened to shove a ball down a police officer’s throat, she Less extraordinary. That’s fine. Her “greatness” doesn’t exempt her from criticism. An occasional regrettable act does not cancel out 999 previous and consecutive virtuous acts,” he said.
In the 2009 U.S. Open semifinals, Serena Williams’ second serve was ruled out for a foot error, giving Clijsters two match points. The 23-time Grand Slam champion confronted the line judge responsible for calling the penalty and verbally attacked her.
“I swear to God, I’m going to shove my fucking balls down your fucking throat,” she told Sideline.
Williams was subsequently fined a point for unsportsmanlike conduct, and Clijsters ultimately won 6-4, 7-5.
Jon Wertheim compares Serena Williams to Novak Djokovic
Jon Wertheim compares Serena Williams to Novak Djokovic. He stressed that while the Serb was highly regarded for his professional achievements, language skills and work with children, his involvement in the Adria tour and his behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic had been heavily criticized.
“Similarly, it’s great when Djokovic wins 24 majors, speaks as many languages and entertains children off camera. Some of us – including myself — found out that the Adria Tour and his behavior during the pandemic were not very good,” he said.
However, he also noted that over time, fans tend to forgive and forget the negative aspects of a player’s behavior, especially when the player continues to perform well on the field.
“Then, over time, dissatisfaction subsides and players rewrite and overwrite that with excellence. It’s all healthy. It’s all human. It’s all consistent. As one wise man said Saying, “You can hate ‘Shiny Happy Man’ and still love Rem so much,” he added.