Tramlines

Does Djokovic really lack aura?

Tramlines

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There are some outlandish remarks made on Tour which are swiftly mocked, derided and forgotten, but Jo-Wilfried Tsonga provoked real debate following an interview earlier in the week.

The Frenchman, one of the few players with a positive head-to-head record against Novak Djokovic, stunned many by saying that the world number one does not have the same aura as other champions.

Djokovic controversially withdrew from the Paris Masters prior to his scheduled quarter-final with Tsonga with a shoulder injury, leaving some to rather cynically accuse the Serb of having only turned up at the tournament to pocket his £1m bonus.

Tsonga then took the opportunity to launch a rather stinging assessment of the Serb's standing among the echelons of the world's great players, saying he is some distance from emulating the likes of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

The Frenchman's remarks have infuriated many associated with Nole, and left his throngs of fans less than impressed given the world number one's incredible recent rise to prominence.

"For the moment he has less aura than Roger and Rafa," Tsonga said.

"[He has less aura] because of the number of victories in Grand Slams, but also the others were at the top for many years, even if Novak had a very good year this year.

"So he's quite far from what the others achieved. His career is not as complete and his position on the tour is not as historical."

Does Djokovic really lack aura? Do players on Tour not fear the Serb as much as they do Federer and Nadal?

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It has been cited that his reputation as a joker ensures that he is viewed differently by some players. But surely it is his ability and class on court that really matters?

The man many call 'Djoker' has not responded to Tsonga's views, and it was a fairly inauspicious week for the Serb after he was left to apologise to the French public for pulling out of a tournament which ensured he received the $1.6m bonus.

Djokovic is just 24 years old and, if he sustains the intensity and focus he achieved this season, perhaps Tsonga will be forced to adopt a different view of his rival.

Champions have long been vaunted as a direct result of the 'aura' they are perceived to exude, and for Djokovic to be told that he is lacking in that department will have come as a real shock for him.

Does Tsonga only fear playing Nadal and Federer? There are some who would cite his head-to-head record with Djokovic as proof that he plays against the Serb with a distinct lack of trepidation.

Djokovic's career to date - and 2011 in particular - suggests that he will go on to achieve similar success to that of Nadal and Federer.

Convincing his fellow professionals on Tour that he deserves the same legacy as the duo will probably not be at the top of his list of concerns.

Tramlines believes that it is entirely churlish for anyone to suggest that Djokovic lacks aura: after all, he is only just getting started.

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There's no way that Tsonga himself lacks 'aura' - just look...

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The wacky world of Caroline Wozniacki: What does a top tennis player do when the season is over? The answer is meet former football legends at grands prix and swan around golf courses. What will the month of December hold for our daring Dane?

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Stirring team-talk of the week: "Djokovic is a shining example how one should represent one's motherland. I am not saying our players lack motivation or desire to qualify for next year's European Championship finals, but I would still love to see Djokovic's tenacity and hunger for victory in their eyes." (Serbia national football coach Tomislav Karadzic)

Challenging Tweet of the week: "Don't be afraid to go out and find new cheese..." (Venus Williams may be making fundamental changes to her diet this week, but her sister Serena is hunting down different wheels of brie, among other things.)

Sycophantic Tweet of the week: "'The King' hanging out with the common folk." (Bob Bryan on having his photograph taken with 'The King'... Jamie Murray.)

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