Veteran tennis commentator Jim Courier has defended Novak Djokovic the wake of the world no.1’s outspoken calls for changes to hotel quarantine.
Djokovic’s highly publicised list of recommendations for Tennis Australia, soon after the roughly 1200-strong contingent of players, coaches and trainers arrived to quarantine in Melbourne and Adelaide for the Australian Open, was highly criticised by fans and given short shrift by health authorities.
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However Courier, who has completed his own 14-day quarantine after being on one of the charter flights from Los Angeles, said the criticism of the Serbian star was overblown.
While admitting some of Djokovic’s suggestions were ‘completely unrealistic’, Courier argued he had made them in good faith.
“People need to keep this in perspective,” Courier told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“What’s really important to remember is that Novak didn’t need any of the things that he was suggesting.
“He was the one who had a balcony, he had access to the court for five hours a day to do his training and his off-court training.
“What he was asking for was help for the people that are going to try and beat him at the Australian Open. That’s really important to note: he was helping the people that he’s going to compete against.
“Because while some of the things he asked for are still pie in the sky – the house with the tennis court, all of those things, it’s so completely unrealistic – but it was still done with the intention to help his competitors and I think that’s been lost in the shuffle.”
Djokovic leads Serbia to ATP Cup win
Djokovic has made a triumphant return to Melbourne Park to lead Serbia to a 2-1 comeback victory over Canada on day one of the ATP Cup.
Milos Raonic had given Canada the early advantage with a 6-3 6-4 win over Dusan Lajovic in the opening singles rubber before Djokovic put Serbia's title defence firmly back on track.
The world No.1 downed the 12th-ranked Denis Shapovalov 7-5 7-5 to level the tie before teaming with Filip Krajinovic to clinch it with a 7-5 7-6 (7-4) doubles success over Raonic and Shapovalov.
Djokovic's twin victories extended his unbeaten streak to 23 matches in Australia and confirmed the 34-year-old as the hot favourite to claim a record-extending ninth Australian Open crown this month.
Djokovic went unbeaten in six singles and two doubles encounters at last year's ATP Cup and last year's disrupted schedule due to coronavirus appears to have done little to slow the 17-times major winner.
His only blemish on Tuesday occurred when he incurred a code violation for blasted a ball out of the arena in frustration at being unable to return one of Raonic's supersonic serves.
But he quickly regrouped to help Serbia take early control of Group A, before modestly hailing Krajinovic as his country's unsung hero of the day.
"He played the best shots at the most important moment of the (doubles) match, without a doubt," Djokovic said.
"I think it was 4-all in the tiebreak in the second set and Milos hit the 225 (mile an hour) around the T and he played the return of the day.
"Credit to him."
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