Goran Ivanisevic has issued a strong rebuke to the media after what he believes is hugely unfair treatment of Novak Djokovic from the media.
Djokovic won the Australian Open last month despite having to play with an abdominal tear for over half of the tournament.
Many, though, openly accused him of faking the injury, and it followed other unkind media attention after the coronavirus outbreak on the Adria Tour, Djokovic’s unfortunate disqualification at the US Open, and his attempts to help players in quarantine in Melbourne.
And that, unsurprisingly, has attracted the ire of coach Ivanisevic.
“Personally, as a coach and as a fan of Djokovic, this title tastes the sweetest of them all,” Ivanisevic told Tennis Majors.
“Novak would probably say Roland Garros 2016 or his first Wimbledon, but for me, after a year in which he was thrashed by some media.
“It feels really good. At the same time, it could turn out that this title was extremely important in the broader context.”
Djokovic certainly endured a very tumultuous 12 months, with him becoming the target of a lot of criticism.
He himself has been relatively restrained when discussing it publicly, but Ivanisevic has not held back in his disdain for how his player has been treated.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“Then, the cherry on top… How shall I put this? The most perfidious, actually the saddest thing were 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.
“Somehow he manages to deal with all of that. And the injury occurred in the third round, it is not like the tournament was nearing its end; no, he needed four more wins, and not against some unknown players.
“[Milos] Raonic, then [Alexander] Zverev, [Aslan] Karatsev did not reach the semi-finals by accident, and finally [Daniil] Medvedev, who is the best in the world in the last three months. It is just amazing.”
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