In a show of sportsmanship, tennis star, Novak Djokovich attempted to play tennis while strapped to a wheelchair for a charity event that was held on Wednesday in Melbourne, Australia. Pitted against Dylan Alcott, the well-known Paralympic gold medallist, Novak Djokovich received huge appreciation for acknowledging just how difficult wheelchair tennis really is, and this is what was responsible for making Novak my champ.
What led to this attempt?
A charity event titled ‘A Night with Novak’ was being held at the Margaret Court Arena on Wednesday, in order to raise funds for Djokovich’s foundation that provides quality pre-school education to young kids in his country. Although on a normal day, Novak would have no trouble playing against Alcott, being tied to a wheelchair brought on a whole new dimension to the game he loves.
Guided by Dylan Alcott, who has been a gold medallist twice in Australia’s Rio 2016 Paralympic games, Djokovich was struggling to focus on the ball while propelling the wheelchair forward and back at all times. However, he did manage to hit the ball a few times and took the laughter of the audience in his stride, being a good sport throughout. This is what made Novak my champ, from that day forward.
What he took back with him
It was lovely to watch Alcott whizz across the court with expertise and elegance, leading one to acknowledge just how difficult the sport of wheelchair tennis really is. Djokovich was barely able to move a few inches across the area, showing the skill that is needed to perform well in this game.
Despite being one of the world’s top tennis players, the tennis star realised that there were still some versions of the sport that he was not good at. If the game was held with Djokovich standing and whizzing across the court in his regular style, he would not have had a hard time winning, however, the tables turned drastically when he was put on to a “level playing field.”
Although he was able to hit a few balls, it was clear that he was struggling with mobility. Alcott kept yelling that he needed to move to hit the balls as he kept shooting them just out of Djokovich’s reach. It certainly was hilarious to watch the No. 2 tennis player in the world, looking on helplessly as the ball whizzed by, while he remained struggling to get his chair to move.
A fruitful night no doubt
Djokovich did not stop there but went on to try his hand with a range of games during that night, and although each had a different level of success, none must have been as difficult as this game of wheelchair tennis and seeing himself perform so poorly in a sport that he usually dominated.
The match was part of an exhibition held to raise funds, and although hilarious and entertaining, it also helped create awareness and sensitivity toward the plight of the disabled. It showed just how much effort and practice is needed for someone to raise to that level of perfection. Although he has outshined a number of tennis players over the years, he did not hesitate to acknowledge the much greater difficulty involved in the game of wheelchair tennis. It was this humility that made Novak a true champ of mine.