Djokovic playing through pain for 1m bonus

Wed, 09 Nov 11:53:00 2011

Novak Djokovic is playing at the Paris Masters despite a shoulder injury that, if he aggravates it further, could cost him any hope of taking part in the ATP World Tour finals - or even cause him further problems.

Djokovic Basel 2011 - 0

But before you stroke your chin in disbelief about the world number one's flagrant disregard for his own health, consider this: the Serbian genius has effectively pocketed 1 million merely for turning up for his opening match over Ivan Dodig.

Djokovic would have taken the week off, but fell foul of an ATP Tour rule designed to enforce top players' attendance at the nine Masters tournaments during the season. As world number one, the Djoker would have been entitled to a $2m bonus if he'd played all the events, with that payment reduced to $1.6m - or 999,375 - for playing eight.

If he'd played only seven of the events, that bonus would have fallen to $0. Given that he missed the Shanghai Masters a few weeks back, he had to play in Paris to avoid losing out.

No matter that he should be resting up for the sake of his career, and his chances at the season finale in London. No matter that he is taking the spot of a player who might have had a genuine shot at victory. No matter that he's already picked up over 6.5m in prize money so far this season (and very nearly 20m in his career). Djokovic just needed to turn up and starting his match - even if he'd then pulled out after hitting a single ball - to net that 1m bonanza.

As it happened, the troublesome joint didn't actually look bad at all as he cruised past his unheralded first-round opponent. "I wasn't able to be at my best but the pain was okay and I will be able to compete," he said afterwards.

He didn't add "and now I'm off to go and have a bath in liquid gold", but we wouldn't have blamed him at all if he had.


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