Djokovic: Game lacks personalities
11:50am Thursday 26th June 2014 in © Press Association 2014
Wimbledon top seed Novak Djokovic has admitted the stakes are so high in modern tennis that the leading players leave their personalities in the locker room.
The Serbian overcame veteran Czech crowd-pleaser Radek Stepanek in a tough second-round work-out, and conceded his 35-year-old opponent is one of few left who mixes on-court charm with a high-grade game.
Djokovic is one of the tour's jokers, but he saves the kidding around for when business is taken care of, and he recognises the same now applies for so many in tennis.
While Stepanek was fooling around, even dropping to his knees on match point to pray in vain that a passing shot from the 2011 champion had landed wide, Djokovic held his performance together.
Men's tennis has seen many a high-profile showman in the past, including John McEnroe, Goran Ivanisevic, Ilie Nastase.
Asked whether the current breed of players can go too far with on-court antics, Djokovic suggested there were very few who would even come close.
"As an individual sport we have many different personalities and characters that have a different kind of approach for the match, and maybe different behaviour off the court as well," Djokovic said.
"It's hard to judge for me. I understand that everybody's trying to do something to feel comfortable on the court to win the match. For somebody it's better to stay focused, not talk, not show emotions, that's fine. But somebody likes to, like Gael (Monfils), to entertain, to get interaction with the crowd, with his team, which is absolutely fine.
"I think that tennis is lacking a little bit in personalities, to be honest. Because of the amount of tournaments we play, (and) of course importance in the value of each match, you put your game face on when you're on the court. You want to win.
"On the other hand, it's sport. People come to support the tennis, you as a player, but also they would like to see a little bit of your personality. I think that's absolutely fine by me. It's not something that I think has a negative impact on tennis."
Britain's former Wimbledon champion Virginia Wade lamented the lack of vibrant personalities in the women's game two years ago, when she described the elite pack of players as " racquet-wielding robots".