Aussie tennis great Alicia Molik has defended Novak Djokovic as the number 1 in the world continues to be criticized during his stay in Australia.
Shortly after arriving in Australia, the world’s No. 1 caused controversy when he emailed Craig Tiley, boss of Tennis Australia with a list of recommendations to change the quarantine restrictions for hard-locked people.
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Djokovic has faced widespread criticism in the Australian community, despite tennis legends calling on the public to give him another chance after Tiley said the list was ‘welcome’.
But after his exhaustive victory over Alexander Zverev in the quarter finals of the Australian Open, in which Djokovic let his emotions boil over, the number 1 in the world, made the huge call that players are already trying to avoid in quarantine before tournaments.
But Australian great Molik believes that Djokovic is not taking the benefit of the doubts from the tennis world when it comes to these issues.
She said having no fans in the stadium during the Melbourne lockdown may have helped him.
“I love Novak. I think having no fans has almost helped him a little,” she said on SportsDay Radio.
“I think everyone is hard on him, he’s a champion of the game. For some reason all over the world, all spectators love his opponent.
“Especially in Australia, where you have been the titleholder for so many years, you will see that the crowd is always shack for the underdog.
“So I think that factor is helping Novak here in a way, and he’s a little bit hard to do.”
Molik defends Djokovic’s injury drama
Djokovic also caused a stir when he claimed he might be forced to withdraw from the tournament after a stomach cramp in his third round against Taylor Fritz.
Following the claim, the world’s No. 1 was criticized for putting in two strong performances against Milos Raonic and Alexander Zverev to advance to the semi-finals.
But Molik believes that Djokovic is injured and that he has shown the heat of a champion so far to fix the problem.
“Here is clearly bad weather. He said he shouldn’t go to court and may not get through the game (against Raonic), and I thought he was sincere,” she added.
“But he has shown perseverance. Those Top 4 in men’s tennis, they still keep them (the younger generation) in line.”
Djokovic is looking for a ninth Australian Open title to add to his total of 17 Grand Slam titles.
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