Uproar over 'disgraceful' twist in Novak Djokovic's gesture for fan

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Novak Djokovic, pictured here gifting his racquet to a young fan after the French Open final.
Novak Djokovic gifted his game racquet to a young fan after the French Open final. Image: Getty

The tennis world is raging after the French Tennis Federation removed a viral video of Novak Djokovic and a young fan from Twitter because of copyright infringement.

Djokovic made the young fan's dreams come true after the French Open final when he gifted the boy the racquet he'd used to win.

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The boy was overcome with excitement after Djokovic's incredible gesture, with the 19-time grand slam champion later revealing how the youngster had helped coach him throughout the final.

“He was in my ear the entire match, basically, especially when I was two-sets-to-love down,” Djokovic said in his post-match press conference. 

“He was encouraging me, he was actually giving me tactics as well. He was coaching me, literally, and I found that very cute and very nice.

“To give the racquet to the best person was him, after the match, that was my gratitude to him sticking with me and supporting me.”

Video of the incredible moment immediately went viral on social media, however tennis writers and fans were left seething on Monday when French Open officials took it down because the footage breached copyright rules.

“These are accredited sports journalists/media trying to share an interesting thing that happened. How in the absolute f*** is this good for the sport or harmful for the copyright holder?” tweeted tennis analyst Matthew Willis.

Sports business writer Darren Rovell wrote: “Congratulations to the French Tennis Federation and/or NBC, who requested that my video of the boy getting Djokovic’s racket be taken down. 

"The video got 5.5 million views, more than any highlight from any match. Great for a struggling sport. But you guys protect your rights!”

Tennis writer Jose Morgado said the “FFT is quite disgraceful in that department”, labelling the decision “unreal”.

While French tennis journalist Carole Bouchard wrote: “This is insane. Don’t take down that video! What the hell. 

"This was not a moment to flex tv rights! Don’t shoot that sport in the foot when it’s spreading beyond its borders. Like, Read The Room!”

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Djokovic racquet could be worth as much as $100,000

Sports business experts have since estimated the racquet could be worth between $20,000 - $100,000 depending on how Djokovic's career finishes.

Ken Goldin, founder and executive chairman of Goldin Auctions, said the racquet could fetch between $25,000 and $35,000 today.

But Ezra Levine, CEO of sports memorabilia investment platform Collectible, said $50,000 would be a "conservative estimate."

Novak Djokovic, pictured here celebrating with the young fan after winning the French Open.
Novak Djokovic celebrates with the young fan after winning the French Open. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

Goldin also valued the racquet at $50,000 if Djokovic secures 20 or more major titles and $75,000-$100,000 if he wins this year's Wimbledon and US Open to complete a 2021 grand slam.

Djokovic moved within one major of Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal's all-time record with his 19th grand slam title at the French Open.

He is now half-way in his quest to emulate Rod Laver as the second man in the Open era to achieve the calendar year 'grand slam' - but he's also out to achieve a feat even the great Australian never had a chance to accomplish.

After winning the French Open, the World No.1 is targeting the 'golden slam' - all four major titles plus Olympic singles gold in the same year.

Only the great Steffi Graf has managed the remarkable feat, doing so in 1988.

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