“Unfair Criticism of Him”: Australian Open 2021 Director Lauds Novak Djokovic for Helping Others

Published 02/26/2021, 5:30 AM EST
Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 18, 2021 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates after winning his semi final match against Russia’s Aslan Karatsev REUTERS/Jaimi Joy


The crown-bearer of the Australian Open 2021, Novak Djokovic, has always been an intriguing person. However, most of the time, despite having good intentions, he lands in unfavorable situations.

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Even Down Under, the Serbian ace faced criticism for more than one reason. But it all began with a misunderstanding about the quarantine situation in the Australian Open 2021 bubble.

Primarily, 72 players had to remain in a 14-day hard lockdown due to a COVID-19 positive case. So to help his fellow players, the World No. 1 player sent a list of requests to Tennis Australia.

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After that, Novak Djokovic faced a lot of criticism for demanding benefits for himself instead of the players. Now, Australian Open boss, Craig Tiley, has decided to clarify the case once and for all.

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To begin with, Craig confessed that the Serbian ace usually finds himself saying things which rub people the wrong way. “He says some things which sometimes turn some people off,” Tiley said.

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 16, 2021, Serbian’s Novak Djokovic reacts during his quarter-final match against Germany’s Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake

The AO boss further said, “Behind the scenes, he sent me a WhatsApp message when they were in Adelaide doing their quarantine program. He had a bunch of suggestions to try and help the 72 athletes who were in the isolated quarantine here … half of which weren’t practical and wouldn’t be allowed and the other half which were possible.”

But somehow, the conversation was leaked to the public who saw Djokovic as the culprit. Tiley believes that this was not fair to the 18-time Grand Slam champion.

“It looked like he sent a list of demands, which was probably an unfair criticism of him because we were having an open dialogue,” Tiley said.

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Tiley has nothing but kind words for Djokovic

Whatever the situation may be, the 33-year-old Serbian finds a way to help other tennis players out. Tiley even appreciated Djokovic for everything he did at the Australian Open 2021.

Tennis – Australian Open – Men’s Singles Final – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates with the trophy after winning his final match against Russia’s Daniil Medvedev REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

He said, “Behind the scenes my conversations with him have always been very good. I must admit this year I found him the best he’s ever been even though it was a stressful time and he was taking a lot of knocks from people.”

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Summing things up, the AO boss suggested that it was Djokovic’s timing which sometimes went wrong, which often puts him on the receiving end of criticism. He concluded, “I think in many ways he just tries to help others and sometimes it just doesn’t land on the timing of when to do that. At the end of the day, he’s a remarkable athlete.”

Moving forward, Djokovic will reunite with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at the Miami Open 2021. Hopefully, fans will hear only good things about the Serbian ace from here on.

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Purav Joshi

601 articles

Purav Joshi is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having a degree in Films, Television and Media Production, he guided his passion for writing and journalism into the sport of aces and rallies. With over 2 years of experience as a copywriter, Purav has authored over 500 tennis articles.

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