Novak Djokovic is the Spiderman of the tennis universe
While Tom Holland is currently the Spiderman of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it is fair to say that Novak Djokovic bears the closest resemblance to the creepy crawler in the tennis universe.
HOWEVER, before I go any further, I must warn you that this article could contain a spoiler or two for the recently released Spiderman film, No Way Home, which hit theaters this Wednesday. But I have tried to keep it to the very minimum.
That very occasion prompted this idea in the first place, given how Novak Djokovic and Spiderman have so much in common.
And even the World No. 1 himself cheekily acknowledged this fact during Wimbledon this year. Djokovic took to Twitter in June, posting a photograph of himself stretching his body ala the web-swinger on the green grass of the All England Club.
Let us now take a look at some reasons why Novak Djokovic is the Spiderman of the tennis universe, beginning with the most obvious one – his flexibility.
Novak Djokovic’s jaw-dropping flexibility is often as good as Spiderman’s
Novak Djokovic stretches to make a return at the 2020 Australian Open
Novak Djokovic’s ability to contort all parts of his body to unbelievable angles on a tennis court has never been seen before in the sport. The Serb is an ultra-fit athlete who has great mastery over all his limbs, allowing him to reach returns most players would not dream of reaching.
More impressively, the 20-time Major champion is also one of the best sliders on grass and clay courts and undoubtedly the best-ever when it comes to hardcourts. The very fact that Djokovic can effortlessly glide a fair few feet on a hardcourt, where it is usually difficult to perform that act, makes his bodily physics seem even more awe-inspiring.
Having said that, places like the Australian Open, where the 34-year-old is a nine-time champion, use a Plexicushion surface (made from latex, rubber, and plastic particles), which is designed to allow players to slide. Yes, this makes Djokovic’s task easier, but he still has to perform that slide while ensuring he does not risk injury.
The most Spiderman-like aspect of Djokovic’s slides and glides is when he, at times, goes on all fours to retrieve a shot, making him seem uncannily similar to the Marvel superhero.
Tobey Maguire’s Spiderman strikes a poseNovak Djokovic stretches to make a return at Wimbledon 2021
But flexibility alone does not define Spiderman, for he has numerous other physical attributes, including his reflexes and brilliant hand-eye coordination. And guess what? Novak Djokovic is famed for those qualities as well!
Novak Djokovic’s reflexes and hand-eye coordination are often straight out of Marvel’s CGI book
Novak Djokovic acrobatically plays a volley at the 2020 ATP Cup
Spiderman’s reflexes are arguably the best among all Marvel superheroes. His famous ‘spider tingle’ allows him to anticipate trouble and evade projectiles thrown at him.
When it comes to hand-to-hand combat, very few can dodge the mightiest of blows like Spiderman does. More impressively, his ability to counterpunch while evading attacks is second to none.
Novak Djokovic is cut from the same cloth. His defensive abilities are amongst the best in the history of the sport, and he can nullify attacks from even the greatest offensive players in the shape of Roger Federer.
Players of different kinds employ a host of tactics and use a plethora of shots to try and throw the Serb off balance, but it seldom ever works.
And while Spiderman uses his web to dodge or nullify incoming attacks, Djokovic merely sticks out his racket to send the ball back to all corners of a tennis court.
Over the years, the Serb has vastly improved in front of the net, and he is currently amongst the players with the best reflexes in the midcourt and forecourt areas.
As is said in the Spiderman movies – “With great power comes great responsibility”
Novak Djokovic is not merely a physical replica of Spiderman but also shares quite a few philosophies and ideals with the web-slinger.
In the films, a loved one often tells Spiderman that “with great power comes great responsibility”. This line greatly affects Spiderman’s outlook (be it Maguire’s or Garfield’s or Holland’s) on crime-fighting. Once this ideal is instilled in his head, the web-slinger becomes a sensible vigilante rather than a reckless crime-fighter with childish sentiments.
It is difficult to know if someone said something similar to Novak Djokovic, but he too displayed such maturity upon reaching the top of the sport. As a World No. 1 and one of the three GOATs, Djokovic realized that he owes more to tennis than merely his own achievements. He understood that there were those who needed him to use his status and his power so that they could lead better lives.
In came the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA), led by Djokovic, which is an organization that strives to improve the prize money and overall conditions for the lower-ranked players.
Like Spiderman who lent a helping hand to scores of underprivileged people in Queens, Djokovic extended his help to his colleagues at a time when the world was struck with the pandemic.
Djokovic has not let his power go to waste, even if it meant having a sour relationship with the ATP, Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal. Like Spiderman, he always follows his instincts and strives to remain faithful to his morals.
But even as Djokovic faces an immense amount of criticism and opposition in whatever he does, there are those like Vasek Pospisil who answer his call, much like Iron-Man, Goblin, and Doctor Strange who come to Spiderman’s assistance.
Now that we have reached the end of the article, you might be wondering if you missed the spoilers I spoke about at the beginning. No, you did not, for I did not include them, and how could I? Spiderman and Novak Djokovic both teach that with great power comes great responsibility.