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    Novak Djokovic of Serbia holds the trophy after defeating Andy Murray of Britain in the men's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015

    World of Sport: Novak Djokovic Deserves More Accolades

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    Neil Clark
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    The histrionics of Serena Williams in the US Open Final not only detracted from the excellent performance of the new Ladies champion Naomi Osaka from Japan, but also from Novak Djokovic's win in the Men's.

    That was his 14th Grand Slam title, putting him level with Pete Sampras and just three behind Rafael Nadal. But despite his success, 'The Joker' still hasn't had the recognition he deserves as one of the greatest tennis players of all time.

    Compare the way he is regarded, with for example, the adulation heaped on Andre Agassi in the 90s. Agassi was a great player (and by all accounts a very nice guy), but he only won eight Slams, six fewer than Djokovic. 

    READ MORE: Match Between Nadal, Djokovic Unexpectedly Ignites Sexism Scandal at Wimbledon

    The main reason why Novak doesn't get as many plaudits as his record warrants, is I believe, geo-political. He's not American and he's not western European either. He's from the 'wrong' part of Europe.

    He's from a country, Serbia, which was demonized by the US and its allies in the 1990s, when it remained part of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which the west wanted broken up. And condescending Cold War attitudes towards ex-socialist countries lingers on- especially if they've not been incorporated into 'the western alliance'.

    'We', the enlightened west, can still tell them what to do, but they mustn't dare to tell us. We can laugh at the 'old-fashioned' clothes they wear, but they daren't laugh at us, however scruffy we are. 

    If Djokovic was an American, he'd be toasted to the rafters, his life story told in a Hollywood film. Instead, the boy from Belgrade, who was only eleven when his home city was bombed by NATO, struggles to get the support of crowds, despite his breathtaking play and generally sympathetic demeanor.

    Sometimes the crowd cheering for the other player gets to Djokovic and understandably so. 'He gets no love from New York, or he hasn't, anyway, in any of the six Open finals that I've watched him play in person', writes Gerald Marzorati in the New Yorker.

    He thinks Djokovic's style of play is the problem, but do we really doubt that nationality isn't the issue? Revealingly, the player Marzorati compares Djokovic to in the 'not loved' stakes is Ivan Lendl, a player in the 1980s who was from communist Czechoslovakia. 

    READ MORE: Screaming Belarussian Tennis Player Taunted by Australian Crowd (VIDEOS)

    Isn't it ironic that in an 'anti-racist' age when everyone in the west seems so keen to virtue signal their p.c. credentials, negative attitudes towards peoples deemed 'inferior', still prevail, but in a less obvious form?

    Doncaster Preview

    The attention in horse-racing this week turns to Doncaster, the South Yorkshire track where the historic St Leger meeting takes place. On Friday's card, the highlight is the Group 2 Doncaster Cup, run over 2 miles 2 furlongs at 3.35pm BST. Idaho, who was third in the Lonsdale Cup at York last time behind Stradivarius, looks a worthy favorite.

    In the Group 3 Sceptre Stakes (1.50), Ellthea, who was very impressive when winning a nursery on similar ground at the meeting twelve months ago, could represent some each way value at around the 8-1 mark.

    READ MORE: Twitterburst as Serena Williams Rages Over 'Sexist' Umpire at US Open

    In the Mallard Handicap (3.00), last year's winner Time to Study is available at 25-1 and despite his recent poor form, could be overpriced, while Speedo Boy, whose trainer Ian Williams saddled the short-headed second last year, and had a winner at Doncaster on Wednesday, is also interesting at around the 7-1 mark, with Ryan Moore up.

    Turning to Saturday, Breton Rock has taken part in the Park Stakes (2.25) for the last three years, finishing 3rd in 2015, 1st in 2016 and a close-up fifth last year and so has to make our short-list. In the St Leger itself (3.35), the each-way value against favorite Kew Gardens could be provided by Derby second Dee Ex Bee, (12-1) who should be ok with the 1m6f trip.

    READ MORE: Meet the Stunning Slovak Tennis Player Who Stormed the US Open (PHOTO)

    The supplemented Maid Up, from the in-form Andrew Balding yard, and who is already a course winner albeit over a shorter distance, is another to consider in a race where upsets do occur.

    Anyone for Freeview Cricket?

    This summer's Test series between England and India has been an absolute classic, with former England captain Alistair Cook bowing out with a century in his final match, and fast bowler Jimmy Anderson breaking Glenn McGrath's fast-bowling record with the very last ball of the series.

    How sad though that millions of Britons (myself included) were unable to watch the enthralling action live on free-to-view terrestrial tv as previous generations were able to.

    If Labour's Jeremy Corbyn wants to  win the 'cricket vote' and shout a big 'Howzat' to Theresa May, then I suggest he puts ball-by-ball coverage of summer test matches (and not just the highlights), on the so-called' Crown Jewels' list of British sporting events that must stay 'free-to-view'. Full coverage of the British Open golf championship should be on it too, as then Labour would gain some important 'swing' voters. 

    Follow Neil Clark @NeilClark66

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    The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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    racism, sport, tennis, US Open, Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic, United States
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