Tommy Paul's 'snub' for Novak Djokovic comes to light at Australian Open
An old video has resurfaced of the pair's previous encounter at the Laver Cup.
Tennis fans have dug up some footage from last year's Laver Cup of American Tommy Paul appearing to 'snub' Novak Djokovic over a handshake ahead of their Australian Open semi-final. Djokovic has obliterated his opponents on his way to the Australian Open semi-final as seeks a record 22nd grand slam and 10th title in Melbourne.
The man aiming to stop his historic run is World No.35 Paul. The American doesn't have the pedigree of Djokovic, but has been in impressive form to start the 2023 season.
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However, many fans have dug up footage from the Laver Cup last year when Paul appeared to avoid a handshake with the 21-time grand slam champion. After Djokovic defeated Frances Tiafoe, the Serbian went over to shake hands with Team World.
During the process, Paul appeared to turn his back and step back. Djokovic shook hands with the other players and returned to his bench.
While not much was made of it at the time, fans have quickly dug up the video ahead of the highly-anticipated clash in Melbourne. While many accuses Paul of snubbing Djokovic, others defended the American and said he might have unintentionally turned away at the wrong time.
Others also pointed out that since Paul was an alternative in the team, he may have removed himself from the handshakes to allow the others to greet Djokovic.
Tommy Paul intentionally avoided shaking hands with Novak after laver cup match.
CC :@DjokerNole 😜😜
Hope someone from his team shows this video too him just before the SF. pic.twitter.com/821EUKPIn3
— Mahesh S Wali (@MaheshS_Wali) January 25, 2023
Lol what the hell is he doing? He clearly saw him
— Last Second Win (@lastsecondwin) January 26, 2023
If Novak remembers, then I can see what's going to happen in semis
— Jay K (@tingaltawal) January 26, 2023
It's not like Djokovic needs any more motivation to defeat Paul and reach the Australian Open final. If he wins on Friday night, he will become the man with the most consecutive wins ever at the Australian Open. The record he craves is the grand slam tally.
If he defeats Paul, Djokovic moves one match closer to equalling Rafa Nadal's tally of 22 grand slam trophies.
Regardless, Djokovic isn't underestimating his opponent. Djokovic hasn't never played Paul and was complimentary ahead of their first clash.
"Well, I know how he plays," Djokovic said. "I never faced him on the court. He's been around for a few years. I watched him play quite a bit, especially during this tournament. He's been playing probably tennis of his life.
"Very explosive, very dynamic player. Quick, very solid backhand. Likes to step in, dictate the point with the forehand. Great, great service motion.
"I think he can hit all the spots with the serve. Very complete player. He doesn't have much to lose. I'm sure he's going to go out trying to play his best tennis."
Novak Djokovic controversy ahead of semi-final
While Djokovic will want to focus on the match ahead, the build-up has been shrouded in controversy after his father's actions on Wednesday. Djokovic has reportedly received a warning from Australian Open officials about the actions of his father.
Srdjan Djokovic was filmed mingling with pro-Russia supporters after his son's win over Andrey Rublev on Wednesday night. Four spectators were questioned by Victoria Police after sporting Russia flags featuring Vladimir Putin's face, while some were seen wearing shirts with the pro-war 'Z' symbol on them. Tennis Australia previously announced that Russia flags - both past and present - were completely banned from the grounds at Melbourne Park.
Serbian star Djokovic beat Rublev of Russia in the quarter-finals on Wednesday night. Djokovic's father was later seen mingling with the pro-Russia supporters, who could be heard chanting 'Serbia, Russia'.
Srdjan posed for photos with the pro-Russia supporters, some of whom were wearing the 'Z' symbol. He briefly spoke to camera in Serbian before he walked off.
On Friday, The Telegraph reported that Tennis Australia had warned Djokovic over his father's actions. The governing body reportedly warned Djokovic and his family to not promote any more political causes.
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