Novak Djokovic made the tough decision on Wednesday, when he played in his second-round match of the Paris Masters despite a nagging back injury that has slowed him since his historic U.S. Open victory in September and earned a $1.6 million bonus for the effort. The world No. 1 wasn't at his best in the match, but still defeated Ivan Dodig, 6-4, 6-3.
By finishing the year at No. 1, Djokovic was entitled to a $2 million bonus from the ATP if he played in all eight Masters Series 1000 events throughout the season. He was docked $400,000 for missing last month's event in Shanghai with the injury, so the total was set at $1.6 million. Had he withdrawn from the Paris tournament, Djokovic would have forfeited all the money.
During his post-match press conference, Djokovic denied playing for the check.
"It was really somehow funny for me to see how people are coming up with that story," he told reporters after the win. "I even heard that I would get on the court and play a game just to get this money. This is ridiculous."
Let's say Djokovic had played strictly for the money. What would have been so wrong with that? Provided he took to the court in good faith and didn't withdraw after a point, why shouldn't he take advantage of the ATP's bonus structure?
Roger Federer didn't think the money should have been a motivating factor for his rival.
"It's a good problem to have, right, he's already made 10 million bucks this year," he said. "Is money everything? [It] clearly helps, but I think he's made so much this year it shouldn't matter."
Spoken like a guy who made $61 million last year.
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- Novak Djokovic