‘A**hole Much?’ – Despite Fan Backlash, Martina Navratilova and Rennae Stubbs Firmly Defend Their Stance on ‘Not a Great Sport’ Novak Djokovic

Published 11/26/2022, 1:23 PM EST
LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 10: Martina Navratilova of United States of America and Cara Black of Zimbabwe (not pictured) in action during the Ladies Invitational Doubles against Mary Joe Fernandez of United States of America and Ai Sugiyama of Japan (not pictured) at The Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championship at the All England Lawn and Tennis Club at Wimbledon on July 10, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Simon Bruty/Anychance/Getty Images)

Novak Djokovic might have had a difficult year in 2022. However, he has made the best out of every opportunity and recently clinched his sixth ATP Finals title. So, when he did not make it to the nominations for the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award, Djokovic fans felt wronged. Moreover, retired tennis stars Rennae Stubbs and Martina Navratilova too got caught up in the banter.

The two tennis stars supported the decision to not include Djokovic’s name on the nominees’ list. However, his fans were ready with their comments to defend their star.


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Martina Navratilova and Rennae Stubbs get cornered by Novak Djokovic fans

ATP released the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award nominees list which contained big names like Rafael Nadal, Carlos Alcaraz, Frances Tiafoe, Casper Ruud, Matteo Berrettini, etc. However, one glaring omission that caught the eyes of fans is that of the Serbian legend. Djokovic fans did not find it fair and took a hard stance against the decision.

Stubbs cleared her stand on the matter and replied to a fan who had tagged her and Navratilova, among others, in a reply to the original post. Stubbs stated, “nothing to do with that. Novak is not a great sport on the court, he’s been defaulted, broken racquets, etc. among other things. He’s absolutely a gracious loser, I’ll give him that, but this award is for sportsmanship on and off the court. So don’t make this about anything but that.”

This statement did not sit well with his fans, who then gave her proof of his sportsmanlike conduct on the court. When Stubbs made a point of him throwing a racquet at the Serbia Open, the fan termed it as a mistake. To this, the retired Australian player retorted by saying she knows better because she played professionally. A fan took this opportunity to work her up and stated, “You played professionally?”

Navratilova entered the debate now and said, “A**hole much?” On the other tread, Navratilova hailed Stubbs for being so patient.

She also tweeted, “Can’t make this cr*p up… you are very patient Rennae!” The whole saga continued and Djokovic fans did not seem like they were going to give up.

How did things go for Djokovic in 2022?


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Djokovic has had a rough year, but he still got the best out of it. Because of his vaccination status, he was not allowed to play in multiple tournaments, which also included two majors.

Tennis – ATP 500 – Astana Open – National Tennis Center, Astana, Kazakhstan – October 8, 2022 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic reacts during his semi final match against Russia’s Daniil Medvedev REUTERS/Pavel Mikheyev

But even then, he continued his grit and went on to win his sixth ATP Finals title, equaling the all-time record of his arch-rival Roger Federer.


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Apart from that, Djokovic fans had other reasons to celebrate as well. It was recently announced that the Serb will be allowed to participate in the 2023 Australian Open after his visa ban was revoked. His absence from 2022 hard-court major gave Nadal the opportunity to clinch the title. Nonetheless, he will be there next year and this time, he is going to be one of the favorites for the title.



Shivali Sharma

857 articles

Shivali Sharma is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. She has pursued her Master's in history from Himachal University, but her love for the game has driven her to write about tennis. Shivali is a huge fan of Naomi Osaka and admires Osaka not only for her on-court performances, but also for her off-court actions.

Edited By: Tony Thomas