Novak Djokovic was reportedly in contention to become AC Milan's football club's mental coach, but tennis fans were clearly puzzled by this development.
According to Italy's famed general-interest newspaper, La Repubblica, the Serbian tennis legend was considered for this top role, with AC Milan owner Gerry Cardinale being among those who conceptualized the idea.
While Djokovic's tennis skills have helped him to win many tennis matches, his mental fortitude has been a catalyst, especially in overcoming adversities and deficits.
The 36-year-old has also been one of the most resilient competitors and has learned to thrive in hostile atmospheres throughout his career, and to good effect. He has claimed that such environments "awaken" him.
With those attitudes in mind, Cardinale was interested in hiring Djokovic and helping the team with motivational speeches. But no discussions were held, and that idea was taken off the agenda by the Italian club head honcho.
However, tennis fans were noticeably perplexed by the news, and it divided opinion. While Djokovic is a fervent supporter of AC Milan, one user on X (formerly Twitter) believes the job would be nonsensical as football and tennis are not mutually exclusive sports.
The tweet read, "Doesn't make sense. Tennis is an individual sport, football is a team sport. You expect him to help all the members in the team? One mistake from GK, you are doomed."
Another disagrees, though writing, "Any team that Djokovic decides and IF he decides to coach as a mental coach, that team will have the greatest mentality in all of sports."
But it wasn't all positive reactions, with another user stating that Djokovic's mental strength is not on par with that of his rival Rafael Nadal, "His mental strength is not even close to Rafa’s, who had to overcome so many injuries in his career and he is still fighting for the Goat title."
"100% a publicity stunt," one comment picked up on Reddit read. And another person on the same platform wrote, "It's dumb. Just because someone is mentally strong doesn't mean they can teach that to athletes from another sport."
If the 24-time Grand Slam winner had been given the role, his services would not have come cheap, as one Milan fan proclaimed, "Wow. First time hearing this. I’m a AC Milan fan. I don’t know what Jerry was thinking because it would’ve been a circus to hire Novak for this. Furthermore, given that we’re losing our stars because of his low wage policies, he couldn’t afford Djoker."
Neither Djokovic nor AC Milan has commented publicly on the report.