Alex Corretja says Novak Djokovic is not recognised as ‘the idol he deserves to be,’ and that’s a real shame.
Djokovic won the Australian Open earlier this month to close to within two Grand Slam titles of rivals Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
He also has many standalone records himself, and he is in the picture of just about every record in tennis history.
However, there also sometimes appears to be some hostility towards him from fans and the media, the latter of which Djokovic has admitted can be a frustration, and Corretja says he deserves a lot better.
“Novak Djokovic is an extraordinary legend of tennis and sports in general,” Corretja told Sport.es.
“His records are incontestable, he already has eighteen Grand Slams, five ATP Finals, thirty-six Masters 1000s, which add up to a whopping eighty-two titles in total, to name a few of his most outstanding achievements.
“And if all this were not enough, in a few days he will become the player with the most weeks at the top of the ATP rankings, surpassing Roger Federer.
“In addition, he has a foundation that bears his name where he brings together a large number of humanitarian and social projects in search of improving the lives of the youngest, especially in Serbia.
“With the numbers he has and seeing all that he contributes socially, he should be a true idol of the masses, and he is, but surely less than he deserves to be.”
One accusation that has been levelled at Djokovic by some fans and even in the media is that he fakes injury, and that narrative has been prominent again after he overcame an abdominal tear to win the Australian Open.
His on-court demeanour also appears to divide opinion, with Djokovic strangely over-criticised for racket-smashing in Melbourne despite numerous players doing the same.
“His attitudes and behaviour on the court have made him a target of the ‘Nadalistas’ or ‘Federistas’, or just tennis fans,” said Corretja.
“[And] it is true that on many occasions his injuries are difficult to justify and understand when later he is seen competing one hundred percent as if nothing had happened.
“But while I understand that it generates debate, I cannot quite understand what would be the reason for feigning this type of problem, especially considering that, on many occasions, they are in apparently comfortable matches for the world number one.”
“In any case, you can’t buy charisma, you have it or you don’t have it, it is something that goes beyond results, and I think Djokovic has a lot, but in my opinion, less than he sometimes would like to have.
“I am absolutely clear that Novak is unique and comparing him to Rafa and Roger seems like a waste of time. All three, with their strengths and weaknesses, are a blessing for those of us who love sports and life in general.”
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