'Hard done by': Aussie tennis great defends Novak Djokovic

Riley Morgan
·Sports Reporter
·2-min read
Novak Djokovic (pictured) looking at the player's box during the Australian Open.
Novak Djokovic (pictured) is given a hard time by the public, according to Aussie tennis great Alicia Molik. (Getty Images)

Aussie tennis great Alicia Molik has defended Novak Djokovic as the World No.1 continues to attract criticism during his time in Australia.

Shortly after arriving in Australia, the World No.1 caused controversy when he emailed Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley with a list of recommendations to change quarantine restrictions for those in hard lockdown.

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Djokovic was widely criticised in the Australian community, despite tennis legends calling for the public to give him another chance after Tiley said the list was 'welcomed'.

But following his draining victory over Alexander Zverev in the Australian Open quarter-final, in which Djokovic let his emotions boil over, the World No.1 made the huge call players are already looking to avoid quarantine ahead of tournaments.

But Aussie great Molik believes Djokovic doesn't get the benefit of the doubt from the tennis world when it comes to these issues.

She said having no fans at the stadium during the Melbourne lockdown may have helped him.

"I love Novak. I think having no fans has almost played into his favour a bit," she said on SportsDay Radio.

Australian Fed Cup captain Alicia Molik  on November 07, 2019 in Perth, Australia.
Australian Fed Cup captain Alicia Molik on November 07, 2019 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

"I think everyone is harsh on him, he is a champion of the game. For some reason, right around the globe, all the spectators like to love his opponent.

"Particular in Australia, being the defending champion for so many years, you will see the crowd always barrack for the underdog.

"So I think that factor in a way helps Novak here and he is a little hard done by."

Molik defends Djokovic injury drama

Djokovic also caused a stir when he claimed he may be forced to withdraw from the tournament after an abdominal tear in his third round match against Taylor Fritz.

Following the claim, the World No.1 copped criticism when he put in two strong performances against Milos Raonic and Alexander Zverev to advance to the semi-final.

But Molik believes Djokovic is injured and has shown the heat of a champion to overcome the issue so far.

"Here is clearly under the weather. He said he may not take to the court and might not get through the match (against Raonic), and I believed he was genuine," she added.

"But he did show true grit. That Top 4 in men's tennis, they are still keeping them (the younger generation) inline."

Djokovic is seeking a ninth Australian Open title to add to his tally of 17 Grand Slam titles.

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