Blog

Lost in translation: Novak Djokovic and geopolitical incorrectness

  Novak Djokovic, this year’s Wimbledon champ and subject of a new book that you won’t find at Barnes & Noble

Novak Djokovic, this year’s Wimbledon champ and subject of a new book that you won’t find at Barnes & Noble

There’s a new book about Novak Djokovic. Not that you’d know it by Barnes & Noble.

I ordered Chris Bowers’ “The Sporting Statesman: Novak Djokovic and the Rise of Serbia” back in July when I blogged about it only to find out when I came to pick it up at the store Sept. 2 that BN would not be carrying it. Meanwhile, several Barnes & Nobles are carrying “Seventy-Seven: My Road to Wimbledon Glory,” Andy Murray’s account of winning Wimby – last year. (BN has carried Bowers’ books on Roger Federer).

This is not to dump on Andy or even BN, although the store should’ve informed me immediately by email that it would not have the book I ordered. But what does a guy have to do to get some attention? Nole is, after all, the No. 1 male player in the world.  He did win Wimbledon this year. Meanwhile, Andy has not exactly been lighting up the tour. What gives?

You begin to wonder if it’s not an East-West thing rather than a Nole thing. Last year, BN carried Nole’s “Serve to Win,” but that’s a wellness book with plenty of info on a current American craze – the gluten-free diet.

However, a book that considers how Nole became the face of a transcendent Serbia – a country that was on the wrong side of the Balkan crisis in the 1990s – that’s a nonstarter among Americans, many of whom probably couldn’t find Serbia on a map. (The BN clerk who waited on me couldn’t pronounce Nole’s name and clearly had never heard of him.)

Nole himself alluded to the disconnect when he talked about the lack of coverage on news organizations like CNN of the flooding in the Balkans this past spring.

Blame our geography and our educational system. In Europe, countries are as close as the states are here. Nole speaks at least five languages. Americans, long insulated by two oceans, balk at Spanish.

The world, however, has become a truly global place, thanks to the Internet. It’s future belongs to the Noles of the world and not to those who can’t be bothered exploring the geopolitics of other places.