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Novak Djokovic becomes latest player to add to Wimbledon shoe controversy

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Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon.

A change in shoes saw Novak Djokovic lose his footing at times in the semifinals but didn’t stop him from defeating Juan Martin del Potro. (Jonathan Brady/AFP/Getty Images)

WIMBLEDON, England — First Roger Federer, now Novak Djokovic. During his fantastic five-set win over Juan Martin del Potro in the Wimbledon semifinals, Djokovic was slipping and sliding and hitting the turf with more frequency than his previous matches. At first it looked as though it was Del Potro’s big hitting that was keeping him on the run and guessing, but as it turns out, it actually might have been Djokovic’s footwear.

The Telegraph reports the All England Club asked Djokovic to change his Adidas shoes after his quarterfinal win over Tomas Berdych because the nubs on his shoes gave him an unfair advantage. The Grand Slam Handbook states that grass court shoes “with pimples or studs around the outside of the toes shall not be permitted.”

Photographs show that Djokovic’s shoes had pimples on sides of his toebox, which would have given him more traction when he slides on the outside of his foot. Tournament referee Andrew Jarrett asked Djokovic to file down the nubs, which he did before the semifinals.

One well-known former player told Telegraph Sport on Friday that he was not surprised that the referee’s office had intervened.

“When you look at how Novak moves into that splits position, and then pushes off with his toes, the pimples on the front of the shoe come into play.

“Other players were interested in what happened with those shoes.

“If Djokovic had been given the all clear, we would have seen more ­people using them, because this is a sport of tiny margins.

“A fraction more balance and speed on one movement could be enough to make the ­difference.”

“My shoes are fine,” Djokovic said on Saturday during his pre-final interview. “When you’re defending, especially the back of the court, it’s a little bit more slippery because there is a little bit more grass. So there is not much grip, and that’s why you slip. My adjustments are made. I’m fully fit for what’s coming up.”

It’s the second shoe-related controversy of the tournament after the All England Club asked Federer to abandon his orange-soled Nikes because they were deemed to violate the club’s “predominantly white” dress code. Federer changed his shoes after the first round and then lost to Sergiy Stakhovsky in his next match.

  • Published On Jul 06, 2013
  • 6 comments
    darkknight
    darkknight

    i stopped liking  wimbledon since it banned federer shoes

    darkknight
    darkknight

    it was all done to help murray.since federer and djockvic were the biggest threat to andy.

    Lakan_Kildap
    Lakan_Kildap

    the NBA banned the Air Jordan at the beginning, too. Tennis will come around.

    chimex22
    chimex22

    just another way to better the chances of Andy Murray winning. There is no way this should have been allowed to happen, you should have made him change at the beginning of the tournament, the semifinals is too late to tell a player to change shoes. Also, guess who wears the same exact Adidas Barricades as Novak, oh look Andy Murray does. Andy Murray was not asked to change his shoes, that's odd.

    garrynelso
    garrynelso

    Some might say that now we know how Djokovic was the only top seed (in both me's and women's singles) not to get in trouble before the semis... he cheated. 

    I dont know if it was intentional or not, but he did cheat. Someone should just say it. 

    cleopatra209
    cleopatra209

    let all the players wear what ever shoe that they want. even foot ball cletes. then you have a fair playing field. any shoe that gives you good footing should be allowed. then maybe no injuries and no withdrawals. let players choose their own footware. then no other player can complain about another players footware, because they all have the same choice of what to wear on their feet.