segunda-feira, 30 de janeiro de 2012

Novak Djokovic é mesmo Benfiquista

Há uns tempos atrás, postei aqui esta mesma foto. Fiz isso em jeito de brincadeira, pensando na altura que se tratava de uma montagem. Estava errado. Não se trata de uma montagem, aconteceu mesmo. No ténis não tinha um favorito, gostava do Federrer por gostar. Hoje tenho um motivo para gostar no Djokovic.

Além do artigo em modo copy/past, ficam aqui mais 2 links que demonstram essa ligação ao clube.


São apenas noticias que podem ter escapado aos mais distraídos.

Segue "parte" do artigo.

..."Novak arrived in Portugal the Saturday before the main draw. And the first thing he asked me for was tickets to the big game the following day between Lisbon soccer giants Benfica and Sporting – a crucial match that could decide which team would follow runaway leader FC Porto into the Champions League next season. I told him that, at the time of the match the next day, he was supposed to attend the official players' dinner and party – and I was surprised by his reaction: “Well, if it’s mandatory I should go to the dinner then.”

Being Number 5 in the world and a rising star crazy about soccer, Djokovic could do pretty much whatever he wanted, so his responsible reaction was surprising. Anyway, I still called João Lagos (the tournament director, a long-time Djokovic fan who shares your own Peter Bodo's enthusiasm for Djokovic's game). I told him about my conversation with Novak. Lagos got right on the phone with Benfica's president and a little while later one of the club's directors called me, with some exciting news.

I went out to find Novak, who was practicing with his coach Marian Vajda, a stocky but smooth Slovak who got to the Estoril semifinals back in 1991. I was struck by how happy Djokovic appeared during his practice session; in fact, it was probably the most joyful practice session I can remember ever watching. The workout finished in gales of laughter when, in the last point of a mini-tennis match, Novak deftly faked out Vajda so badly that the coach fell on his back and ended up caked in red clay. 
When they were done, I told Novak the good news: “Novak, the stadium is sold out, tomorrow night. Sorry. But . . .we’ve got four invitations to the presidential box.” 
The guy was ecstatic. The following day, we sat together in the first row of the exclusive box, alongside the usual assortment of ministers and diplomats and other VIPs. The match ended up a 1-1 tie, much to the dismay of Benfica supporters. The next morning, Benfica sent a present for Novak: an official team shirt with his name and favorite number (4) on the back. I went over to the players lounge and, with Marian Vajda and Novak's trainer, Ronen Bega, hung the red shirt on a nearby coat hook. When Novak joined us, he glanced it. A few moments later, he realized what it was, and that it was for him. He reacted like a kid on Christmas day.
I told Novak he could wear the shirt on court, before or after the match – since it was from his own sponsor, Adidas, it wouldn’t be a problem for him, and his picture would be everywhere. A couple of hours later, I saw him heading to the stadium with Igor Andreev. The red Benfica jersey was nowhere to be seen. But right before walking on court, he stopped, took the shirt out of his bag, and put it on.  The crowd in the stadium was sparse (he was first on, and it was lunch time) and they greeted him with a chorus of boos! I felt terrible, I should have realized the sociological realities at play: Benfica is the popular club, but tennis attracts a posh crowd, and they're largely Sporting supporters. 
Novak took it in stride, though, and he broke Igor Andreev right at the beginning of the match. We couldn't forsee it, but from that break on until he clinched championship point, Novak performed like  a veteran warrior. The conditions became - and stayed - extremely difficult. The wind was terrible, and it kept changing and swirling in different, unpredictable directions (click here for our video coverage of the tournament).
Igor Andreev, the last man on the planet to beat Rafa Nadal on clay, is getting back to form after a lengthy injury and, with his big, high-bouncing, "Made in Spain" topspin forehand (Andreev left Moscow while in his teens), he soon started dictating play; Nole hung tough, but expressed frustration over not being able to play more aggressively. He was a break down in the third and the match was decided by a couple of points in the tiebreak: leading 3-2, Andreev double-faulted and then Novak finished off a long, intense exchange with a drop volley. He grabbed the momentum right there and went on to win the match and celebrated as if he'd won the whole tournament.
And then… he put on the Benfica jersey again and waved. He was booed a bit more than cheered, and on his way out he gestured to his ear and looked at me, a bit puzzled – but Vajda told him not to worry, that he did OK -it's just that it was a Sporting crowd. One person who did appreciate Novak's support was the Benfica striker, Italy's Fabrizio Miccoli. He was there, and he signed the shirt in a photo-op that was all over the papers the following day.
Novak addressed the shirt incident at the press conference with a lot of maturity and diplomacy. He is great in pressers; he talks clearly and frankly and interacts with the reporters as well as he does with the public. The kid’s got charisma, no doubt about that. And a lot of people were happy to see him survive the stern test."...

Once again, I saw the good-humored, talkative kid whom I'd encountered at that first practice session of the tournament. Novak stripped and sent a racquet and his yellow shirt to the crowd. Then grabbed a red shirt from his bag – the crowd thought it was a Benfica jersey again, so a few started whistling. . .but Novak showed them it was Serbia’s national team soccer shirt, with the embroidery proclaiming ‘Made in Serbia’ and ‘Nole’. He got the trophy from Benfica legend Eusebio and then rushed like a kid to his bag to get the Benfica shirt. He asked Eusebio for an autograph in front of a packed stadium."...

Para quem quiser ler o Artigo na integra, é só clicar no link abaixo. Mas confesso desde já, que não fui muito sucinto no copy/past.

Sem comentários: