Boris Becker Defends Novak Djokovic, Says He Hasn’t Always Been Treated Fairly in the Media

Published 02/06/2021, 8:58 AM CST
Tennis – ATP Cup – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates winning the first set during his group stage match against Canada’s Denis Shapovalov REUTERS/Kelly Defina


German tennis legend and coach Boris Becker has weighed in on the letter controversy surrounding his former pupil Novak Djokovic ahead of the Australian Open and his chances of scripting another glorious chapter at Melbourne Park this year.

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The six-time Grand Slam champion coached the Serb superstar for three years.

In an interview to Tennis365, Becker, who will be commentating at the Australian Open, said it isn’t the first time Djokovic has been in the news for the wrong reasons and he knows how not to let it affect his game.

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Becker calls Djokovic the “top favorite” to win Australian Open 2021

“You have to take a stand for him, because he hasn’t always been treated fairly in the media. He knows how to deal with it (controversies),” Becker said.

On the Serb’s chances of an unprecedented ninth Australian Open title this year, Becker called him “the top favorite”.

“Everyone knows what it means to play against Djokovic in Melbourne,” the German legend said.

PARIS, FRANCE: Novak Djokovic of Serbia returns a backhand in his semi final match against Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria on day 6 of the Rolex Paris Masters, part of the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 held at the at AccorHotels Arena in Paris, France. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

A ninth Australian Open crown will put Djokovic on a level with yesteryear stalwart Martina Navratilova for the most number of Grand Slams won at the single event.

Navratilova won half of her 18 Grand Slams at Wimbledon.

Having seen the 17-time Grand Slam champion from close quarters, Becker said that he has known him to be someone who “fears nothing” and is always spoiling for a scrap with the toughest of rivals.

“Seen him almost as a streetfighter”: Becker on Novak Djokovic

“During my time with him, I’ve seen him almost as a streetfighter who fears nothing and is not afraid of (the) opposition,” the German legend said of the World Number 1.

Labelling his former pupil as “the best in class”, Becker invoked Djokovic’s standing as one who always speaks up for his peers.

After stepping down as president of ATP Player Council last year, the Serb founded the Professional Tennis Players’ Association (PTPA) to take up issues involving professionals on the men’s circuit.

As the controversy over his letter to Tennis Australia, seeking certain relaxations in quarantine rules, grew bigger, Djokovic issued a statement clarifying that he was only speaking up for players who were subjected to hard lockdown without practice.

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A total of 72 players were subjected to hard quarantine after some crew members in their chartered flights returned positive tests for Covid-19. Four players were also reported to have tested positive thereafter.

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He later received support from peer Alexander Zverev who said that the demands that he put forward were raised 

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

995 articles

Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.

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