Novak Djokovic added to his repertoire of memorable impersonations on Monday night, channelling his inner John McEnroe in front of a roaring crowd at the U.S. Open.
The fourth-seeded Serb’s impressions of Maria Sharapova, Rafael Nadal and others, which earned him the nickname of “Court Jester” - haven’t always been so well-received.
But the rowdy crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium was delighted when he turned his latest impression after dispatching Radek Stepanek in Monday’s final match.
“If the moment is right, it comes spontaneously,” Djokovic said. “I thought the moment was right. The crowd loved it, and that was the most important thing.”
His McEnroe impression included temper tantrums, swinging volleys and a great, albeit right-handed, send-up of the American great’s lanky, unfurling serve - a show that will be remembered as much as the material he offered at the 2007 Open.
“It was wide!” Djokovic said, pointing to the line, yelling at an empty umpire’s chair, as about 10,000 fans in Arthur Ashe Stadium roared.
And, of course, “You cannot be serious!”
McEnroe couldn’t resist the bait. Urged by Djokovic to come down and hit a few balls with him - Todd Martin had already refused - McEnroe took off his tie and ran down from the TV booth to show Djokovic that nobody can do a better McEnroe than McEnroe.
They played a few points, and after McEnroe strung together a nice serve and one of his perfect, patented, belt-high volleys for a winner, the show was over. Best of all: No rackets were broken. And because this was hard court, no chalk flew up.