Goran Ivanisevic has taken aim at the “no-name players” who questioned the legitimacy of Novak Djokovic’s injury at the Australian Open. The world No 1 battled through the pain barrier in Melbourne to pick up his 22nd major having admitted on the eve of the tournament that he wasn’t sure whether he’d be able to compete.
Djokovic had heavy strapping on his leg for the first week of the tournament, and took several medical timeouts during matches. The Serbian tennis superstar incredibly dropped just one set on his way to winning another Grand Slam.
His performance levels led to some accusations that Djokovic was overplaying his injury, with Enzo Couacaud claiming it felt “a bit far-fetched”. Alex de Minaur also appeared to indicate that he wasn’t convinced of Djokovic’s injury after his loss in the fourth round.
The 35-year-old repeatedly hit back at any suggestion he was faking the injury and Ivanisevic has now backed Djokovic with a message to the detractors. “I don’t know how to name these people… I’ve seen some players who I don’t even take seriously saying all kinds of things,” he told Tennis Majors.
“Everything is documented – MRI scans, doctor’s and radiologist’s opinions etc. He doesn’t want to do it now, but Novak said that he will come out with those publicly at some point.”
He added: “We can’t stop people from saying one thing and the other, let everyone think what they want, but I find it hilarious when someone says: ‘Oh, he faked (the injury) during the match’. Sure, the best player in the world needs to fake an injury to win against a player who would maybe take a few games off of him. He would win either way.
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“As far as I know, there is going to be a documentary about his journey, injuries and everything, so perhaps he will publish it there. At the end of the day, it’s his business, nobody else’s.
“Everybody deals differently with the injuries and with the comments in the media. What I find incredible is some no-name players making comments, instead of just staying silent and being happy that they got to win a few games against him.”
Djokovic was hoping to play in Indian Wells this week, but he had his application for COVID-19 vaccine waiver rejected. He now faces another anxious wait to discover whether he will be allowed into the country for the Miami Masters later this month.
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