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Poorly portrayed: Novak Djokovic says he's "an easy target to be the villain"
"Nobody apologized to me publicly," the 21-time major winner told Serbian media, after Australian Open broadcasters "went completely overboard" in misrepresenting an innocuous bathroom break during his first-round match.
Published Jan 20, 2023
WATCH: Novak Djokovic defeats Enzo Couacaud in the 2023 Australian Open second round
Novak Djokovic says he feels like "an easy target" to villainize, after the way Australian Open broadcasters have misrepresented an innocuous bathroom break that happened during his first-round match.
In an Instagram post that has since been edited by Eurosport, a clip showing Djokovic “defying” chair umpire Aurelie Tourte and heading off the court to take a toilet break after five games against Roberto Carballes Baena quickly went viral. But in reality, Djokovic was indeed given permission and told to "be quick", as he explained in a two-part Instagram Story.
Eurosport's description of what transpired misled viewers, Djokovic explained on Thursday, and implied that he put himself above the rulebook.
“The majority of people who follow tennis will never hear [what actually happened]," he told media during the Serbian portion of his press conference. "They will still think that I defied the umpire, went to the toilet and that I didn’t follow the rules.
"So, again I am portrayed as the one who behaves how he wants, which is completely untrue. I explained in my social media post exactly what happened.”
As Sasa Ozmo reported for Tennis Majors, Djokovic believed he was hung out to dry and wasn’t being properly protected by the sport’s governing bodies. A private apology was simply not enough to rectify the situation.
“I am an easy target to be the villain,” he was quoted as saying in Serbian. "That is how they portray me, for me that is now a normal occurrence—but I will not tolerate injustice.
“Some things I can tolerate, some I cannot. They do not deserve for something like this to just be allowed, to get away with it. Usually I don’t react, even though I could have reacted a thousand times over different things in the past.
"Today they went completely overboard. Nobody apologized to me publicly.”
After closing out Carballes Baena in straight sets, the 21-time major champion would eventually overcome qualifier Enzo Couacaud—and an ongoing hamstring issue—in four sets to keep his bid for a 10th title at the Happy Slam intact.
Djokovic continues his title quest against Grigor Dimitrov on Sunday. The 35-year-old has won seven consecutive clashes and nine of their 10 previous meetings overall.