Novak Djokovic was snubbed in the list of players nominated for the 2023 Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award, leaving his fans infuriated.
According to the ATP, this award is vested upon the player, "who conducted himself at the highest level of professionalism and integrity, who competed with his fellow players with the utmost spirit of fairness, and who promoted the game through his off-court activities."
This week, the ATP published a four-man shortlist for the award and these are Carlos Alcaraz, Jannik Sinner, Hubert Hurkacz, and Grigor Dimitrov. Fans of Djokovic immediately took to social media to vent their frustrations that their favorite player was omitted.
Because Djokovic was not in contention for the other three categories of awards, such as the Comeback Player of the Year, Most Improved Player of the Year, and Newcomer of the Year, the Sportsmanship Award was his only chance to bag one of the ATP's year-end prizes.
His fans did not take his absence from the list lightly and bizarrely felt some players who made the list were less deserving of nomination. Since 2004, it is Djokovic's rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal who have shared this prize between them until Casper Ruud broke that hegemony last year.
Although the award is voted for by the players, it is the ATP who compiles the list of nominations. Instead, one Djokovic fan allegedly claimed that Carlos Alcaraz's clothing sponsor, Nike, is behind the nomination while sharing the Spaniard's outbursts on the court.
Another fan felt that there was no objectivity in handing out this award considering that Federer once won it while he had some fiery moments of his own on the court, which included not shaking hands with a chair umpire.
Another unimpressed user wrote, "I've said it before & I'll say it again......the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award is the most farcical award & does a disgrace to the name & the great player Stefan Edberg was!!"
While Djokovic misses out on this award for another year, one of his supporters was quick to remind the tennis fraternity of his major accomplishments this season, writing, "LOL - not a surprise. Let the ATP continue its circus. #24 and counting. #401 and counting. #8 and counting."
Another user wrote, "Alcaraz and Sinner are parts of newFedal project (by nike and rolex etc..) and one of them will win, remember Wimbledon posters."