That there is no love lost between Novak Djokovic and the world media is no secret. Despite being one of the best in the world at his game, Djokovic has not received the sort of adulation and love that is accorded to the likes of Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal. There could be many reasons for this — Federer and Rafa's was a well-settled friendly rivalry in men's tennis for almost a decade before a brash and controversial Djokovic broke into the top rankings and squeezed himself into the conversation. Djokovic also represents a more outspoken batch of players, making him quite an antithesis to the tennis establishment.
Just as one could track Novak Djokovic's career through his titles, so could one though his many controversies — some real, some, as he claims, highly exaggerated. Now at the Australian Open 2021, life seems to have come full circle for the Serbian star, who is once again facing allegations of playing up his injuries in order to take medical timeouts to turn matches around. Djokovic is not alone in his injury troubles — Rafa, Dimitrov, Berrettini and scores of others have had some degree of injuries at the Slam this year.
Djokovic's hard-fought 5-set win over Taylor Fritz — the origin of the injury in question — became the point of conversation as the Serb went into this post-match interview after defeating Milos Raonic in four sets in Round 4. The World No. 1 alleged that his escape from Fritz and Raonic was treated much differently by the press than any such lucky escapes made by Federer or Rafa over the years — most notably Federer's escape from Tennys Sandgren at Melbourne Park in 2020. While Federer's win was labelled a great personal triumph and a show of his class, Djokovic's entire victory boiled down to the medical timeouts he took.
“That’s like opening Pandora’s box,” Djokovic said when asked about why he thought he was treated so harshly by the press. “If we begin to discuss that, we won’t finish this evening," the Serb added, before saying, "Truthfully, I have mostly made peace with it. I cannot say that it doesn’t sometimes get to me — of course, an injustice or an unfair portrayal by the media affects me. I am a human being, I have emotions and naturally, I don’t enjoy it”. Djokovic also claimed that his “mistakes are perhaps less forgiven in the public in comparison to other players”.
Now proficient in shutting out his critics, Djokovic let his playing do the talking as he swept past the hard-hitting Alexander Zverev in four sets. Overcoming a tough first set, Djokovic looked undefeatable as he broke the German six times to set up a semi-final meeting with surprise Russian semifinalist Aslan Karatsev.