Novak Djokovic has received a lot of criticism in recent times, mainly due to the choice to send a letter to Tennis Australia asking for a relaxation of the restrictive measures for the 72 players in solitary confinement in Melbourne.
In addition to receiving a negative response from the competent authorities, the requests of the number 1 in the world have certainly not met the approval of the already hostile Australian public opinion. The attempt of the 33-year-old Serbian to clarify his intentions through an official note was of little use.
Nole reportedly required better food for athletes, fitness equipment and the ability for players to move into private homes with tennis courts. Interviewed by Eurosport.de, US Open 2020 finalist Alexander Zverev defended the 17-time Grand Slam champion, insisting that Djokovic is often misinterpreted and portrayed as the villain of every situation.
The Belgrade veteran will be one of the protagonists of the second edition of the ATP Cup with his national team.
Zverev on Novak Djokovic
"Novak Djokovic was just there as a leader and as the No. 1 player in the world and he sent the letter out," Alexander Zverev said.
"It was not his own letter, it was the points that were asked by other players...He was again portrayed as the bad guy." Alexander Zverev acknowledged the bias from the authorities too, while claiming that the difference between the facilities in Adelaide and Melbourne was 'maybe a bit unfair'
"They have their own training area there and actually their own facility," Zverev said. "They can also go out for five hours, but spend five hours on the field if they want. That is maybe a bit unfair. He was just standing up for others.
Those were the demands from other players who are in quarantine," Zverev added. After the media backlash, Novak Djokovic himself issued a statement that his letter had been written with good intentions and that he was only trying to use his influence to help his fellow players in lockdown.
Coming to the current season, the World No. 1 headlined the exhibition event ‘A Day at the Drive’ in Adelaide. However, he pulled out of his match due to a blister on his palm. Djokovic later finished the match, as he stepped on the court after the first set was played.
Following the ATP Cup, Novak will be seen at the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the season. He is the defending champion there having beaten Austria’s Dominic Thiem in a sensational five-set thriller final in 2020. It was his 17th Grand Slam title and a record 8th championship at the Australian Open.