The passion has only weakened a bit in the past 10 years, when the power balance of the tennis sport has been tilted towards Djokovic. Before Djokovic was crowned at the Rod Laver Arena on January 30, 2011, he had only one Grand Slam. Federer then had 16 Grand Slams while Nadal had online 9. After the victory over Thiem, the gap was narrowed with Federer 20, Nadal 19, and Djokovic 17.
Djokovic’s success is good for the competition and development of men’s tennis, but after all, people don’t want that to happen. The day Djokovic was still firmly in third place, as the spoiler Federer and Nadal, he was praised and encouraged after each failure.
In the period of 2011 – early 2012, he continuously defeated Nadal on every surface, everything was fine. “Djokovic will prevent Nadal from catching up with Federer,” many people thought. When Djokovic was close to the 2015 Roland Garros title but lost to Stan Wawrinka in the final, the audience gave him a long round of applause that touched him to the point of tears.
But when Djokovic was Federer’s biggest obstacle on the journey to increase the number of Grand Slams, and sticking to “Express Train”, fans began to feel uncomfortable. The more major titles he won, the more lonely Nole became on the field.
But why is only Djokovic hated when he defeated Federer, while the first major opponent of Swiss tennis player Rafael Nadal? It was Nadal who struck Federer’s Grand Slam record for most of his career. But the Spaniard was welcomed even when he won on Federer’s forte. Nobody forgot the tears of Nadal and Federer at the Wimbledon final in 2008. A classic and romantic coronation, something Djokovic did not get even though he won many great titles.
Alex Pattle explains that Nadal is feared by his passion on the field and his philosophy of counter-attacking Federer. These factors make the “Express Train” fans more likely to accept defeat than when their idol loses to Djokovic, whose style is similar to Federer’s but more cruel and less flowery.
Another tennis journalist, Alex Palmer said that the cause lies in two factors. One is that Djokovic emerged after Federer and Nadal, who are from two opposing schools, owning a typical play and not as vague as Djokovic. The other is the behavior on the field.