The Deep Read: Djokovic Derangement Disorder

Alatenumo
8 min readJul 20, 2023

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Immediately, Novak Djokovic, the 23-time Grand Slam Champion, squatted and ate the grass after clinching the 2022 Wimbledon title; James Alfred felt a burning sensation in his chest. “By the time I woke up three days later, I was surrounded by many doctors in the intensive care unit. Djokovic’s success rubs me the wrong way,” he told Alatenumo Times. Even though Djokovic lost his Wimbledon crown to Carlos Alcaraz a few days ago, James Alfred still blames Djokovic for his current predicament. Alfred suffers from Djokovic Derangement Disorder (DDD), a debilitating medical condition in which the victim has an obsessive hatred toward Novak Djokovic.

Source: AFP

The Djokovic Derangement Disorder, which inflicts one in every fifteen tennis fans, first came to the attention of medical practitioners in the summer of 2015 after Djokovic defeated Roger Federer at the 2015 Wimbledon final. Before the match, Roger Federer, considered by many as the golden goose that lays the golden egg, was the dominant tennis player with 17 Grand Slam titles, followed by Spain’s Rafa Nadal, who had amassed fourteen Grand Slam titles. Djokovic had only won eight Grand Slam titles before his match against Federer. The general expectation was that Federer would defeat Djokovic as Wimbledon was his home turf. “When Djokovic defied all expectations and defeated Federer, many people lost it. The hospital was inundated within a week with angry people cursing Djokovic,” says Surrey-based Consultant Psychiatrist Ralph Clark. “One woman pulled all her hair out screaming that Djokovic had ruined her life.” In 2015, this trend became prevalent worldwide as Djokovic began to dominate. There’s usually an uptick in DDD around late January, June, July and September when the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open occur. “I used to like Djokovic when he was the clown imitating other players, but the moment he got serious and started kicking Federer and Nadal’s butt, my hatred for him increased exponentially,” says Patricia, who refused to give us her surname.

Wimbledon 2015 Final- Alastair Grant/Associated Press

Although people with DDD display different symptoms, they all possess an irrational hatred for anything Djokovic stands for, including his wife, children, religion, food, country, dog and even the air he breathes. “Under normal circumstances, my resting heart rate is 49 beats per minute. However, when Djokovic plays, it jumps to 190 beats per minute because I want to see him lose,” says Ajibade Cole, a recent inductee into the Novak Djokovic Haters Hall of Fame. Derrick Shavers, who lives a few metres from Philippe Chatrier Stadium in Paris, says, “Ever since Djokovic won his 23rd Grand Slam title in Paris, I haven’t been able to eat, drink or sleep. He has made my life a misery.” Other people develop rashes on their bodies whenever they read about Djokovic or watch him on television. Some get panic attacks before going to bed, fearing that they might dream of Djokovic beating Nadal in their dreams.

Ninety-five per cent of Djokovic’s Derangement Disorder diagonosis is in the West, where Djokovic has recorded his most iconic success. “Djokovic being of Serbian extraction dominating the western-centric Grand Slam has not helped his case,” says Nikola Brunčević, a Professor of Sports Psychology at Belgrade Auxillary State University. In his groundbreaking book, The Science of Hate, Matthew Williams notes, “Within us, we all have the internal precursors of prejudice, but it takes a specific set of external conditions to cultivate it… When combined with other influences like negative norms and value transmission from peers, a lack of daily face-to-face contact with the outgroup, and gradual exposure to subversive subcultures and fringe online media, the seeds of prejudice can rapidly germinate into hate.” Djokovic struggles to get acceptance in the tennis world because he does not fit the mould of the quintessential tennis champion. “If you look at the most loved male tennis players, past and present, what names do you see? Jimmy Connors, Bjorn Borg, Rod Laver, Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal, Andre Agassi,” says Cvijan Gleđević, a sports broadcaster, “What do they have in common? They were all Westerners. Djokovic comes from the wrong region — He is Slav.” According to Frederick Harrison, a statistician with the Institute of Xenophic Studies, “A DDD sufferer is likely to have a positive correlation with anti-Serbian bias, favourable Federer/Nadal sentiments and Western hegemony.”

The Western media has played a crucial role in the increasing rate of Djokovic Derangement Disorder by weaponising hatred towards Novak Djokovic. Malcolm X, the African American activist, once said, “The press is so powerful in its image-making role, it can make a criminal look like he’s the victim and make the victim look like he’s the criminal. This is the press, an irresponsible press. ……If you aren’t careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” The Western media has long crusaded to demonise and dehumanise Djokovic. Ben Rothenberg, who has been described as one of the most influential tennis journalists in the world, once called Djokovic a “Public health pariah who doesn’t help his cause.” When Djokovic was deported from Australia for not taking the Covid vaccine, there was non-stop coverage of Djokovic’s ordeal. The coverage increased the hatred toward Djokovic. Claire Adam, who suffers from Unva((inated Phobia Syndrome), says, “His decision not to take the vaccine has made him a huge icon of the anti-vax movement. The Australian authorities should have evaporated him.”

Reuters

Several DDD victims claim that Djokovic is an ingrate who refuses to acknowledge that tennis has improved his life. “He is an ungrateful son of a bitch,” says Martina Navvaz. “When he collects his trophy, I expect him to say, Wimbledon changed my life. If not for tennis, I would still live with the wolves in Serbia.” For others, it is his arrogance that gets to them. “He is so cocky and is oblivious to all the hate we spew at him. I was at Centre Court in 2019 jeering him when Federer had a match point. Djokovic just shrugged his shoulders and went on to win, and then he had the nerve to say that when we were cheering Federer, he heard us cheering him. Bloody liar.

Epidemiologists have identified a new variant of Djokovic Derangement Disorder they recently have named #NoleFam Derangement Disorder. A number of Djokovic fans, also called NoleFam, are now feeling the hatred directed at Novak Djokovic. Ljiljana was engaged to her boyfriend, Boris Cameron, for five years. “My fiance and I went to Wimbledon, and I took a selfie with Djokovic after his practice session. My fiance was livid. He said nothing on the way home. When I got to work the following day, I got a text from him calling the wedding off.” In a written statement seen by Alatenumo Times, Cameron wrote, “Ljiljana broke the first commandment — Thou shalt not express any likeness towards that egocentric moron Djokovic.” In describing Djokovic fans, Jonathan Liew, named sportswriter of the year at the 2021 Sports Journalism Association Awards, wrote, “You can always spot the Djokovic fans at a grand slam tournament. There is a definite type at these events. Bored-looking blond men in designer shades. Crudité-thin women who, for some reason, refuse to use their jacket sleeves. Against this backdrop of clinking champagne glasses and easy unearned wealth, the boisterous Team Nole crews stand out like a breadstick in a Martini.” Gary Pavlenko, a member of NoleFam, said, “I cried when I read Liew’s comment about Djokovic’s fan. It was xenophobic. Would he have described Federer’s fans in such an ugly manner?” John Smith, who is the president of the Anti-Djokovic Forum, wrote in an op-ed for Tennis Haters Magazine, “I feel like throwing up when I see the NoleFam gather near the media centre at Wimbledon after every Djokovic victory. Who the hell do they think they are? Wimbledon belongs to the Anglo Saxons and not these scum of the earth.

The Djokovic Derangement Disorder is not a new phenomenon. Before DDD emerged, the Serena Derangement Syndrome (SDS) ravaged the tennis community. Serena Williams, who dominated the game of tennis for almost two decades, was the subject of hatred from tennis players, tennis media, tennis officials and tennis fans. Working on a book examining DDD and SDS, Jamal Jenkins says, “Although Serena and Djokovic are of different genders and races, they have a lot in common. Like Serena, who is the Greatest, Djokovic is the Greatest male player; like Serena, who faces racism, Djokovic faces xenophobia from the West; like Serena, who is confident in herself and makes no apology, Djokovic is confident and feels no need to genuflect at the altar of Wimbledon; like Serena, who confined Navratilova and Evert to the dustbin of history, Djokovic confined Federer and Nadal to the dustbin of history; like Serena, whose fanbase #RenasArmy were dismissed as unruly, Djokovic’s fanbase the #Nolefam are dismissed as idiots.”

With Djokovic showing no signs of retiring, the Djokovic Derangement Disorder could be around for a while. However, some are optimistic that, over time, the disease will be cured. Bishop J. P. Montgomerie of Sacred Hearts Apostle Ministries believes love will triumph over hate. “I urge all Djokovic haters to renew their minds and let love fill their hearts,” he says. Some commentators believe that the derangement will end when people realise that Djokovic is the Greatest male player ever. “Whatever parameter you look at, Djokovic is head and shoulders above his peers, be it Grand Slam titles, win-loss ratio, weeks at number one, head to head. Very soon, the hatred will end,” says James, who refused to give his surname for fear that his bank account could be frozen. But acute sufferers of DDD refuse to acknowledge Djokovic as the #GOAT. “To be the GOAT, you have to be loved by the fans; take the Covid vaccine, never smash your record and not be a Slav,” says Pam Baker, who has been living with DDD since 2015, “and even if he meets these criteria, he must win a combined 64 Slams including doubles and mixed doubles to be considered the GOAT.”

Selah.

Ahmed Olayinka Sule, CFA

@Alatenumo

July 2023

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