Former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic has defended his ward Novak Djokovic, saying the media having a go at him in the past year is like watching the ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’.
The Serb recently copped a lot of criticism for his injury at the Australian Open. Despite Djokovic allegedly suffering from an abdominal muscle tear, he went on to win his ninth title at the Melbourne major.
“Everything started with the Adria Tour; they were after him even before that, but in the last year it seemed to me as if I am watching that film The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” he joked during an interview with Tennis Majors.
“Actually the saddest thing was accusations that he was faking an injury.
“Why on earth would he do that? Why would the best player in the world make up an injury, and he was up two sets to love at that point?! When some other top player is injured, it is considered a heroic act for them to even step on the court. But when it is Novak, he is faking it.”
Since the lockdown began last year, Djokovic has seemingly been in the news for all the wrong reasons.
Firstly, he received a lot of backlash for the Adria Tour which ended hastily after four player, including Djokovic, and Ivanisevic tested positive for the virus.
Before the US Open, he co-founded a rebel player body called the Professional Tennis Players’ Association, which was seen by many to be in conflict with the existing ATP.
At the US Open, he was disqualified for hitting a line judge accidentally in the throat with a ball.
“Why is he being treated that way? Probably because of his background, people from Balkans are always looked at differently; also, Novak is not afraid to speak his mind and to fight for causes he believes in,” added Ivanisevic.
“What happened at the US Open, it was as if everyone was glad because that kind of shit happened to him. In Australia he stood up for his fellow players and again – let’s kick Djokovic because he is the only one to speak up, everyone else stays silent.
“Throughout my career I have witnessed players doing all sorts of things, but nobody got the kind of treatment Novak does.”
Despite his off-court troubles, Djokovic is only growing in stature on it. The Serb equaled Roger Federer’s record of 310 weeks spent at No 1 in the world on Monday and is set to break it next week.