Alexander Zverev Says Novak Djokovic Wrongly Portrayed as “Bad Guy” in Australian Open 2021 Letter Row




German tennis star Alexander Zverev has defended 17-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic in the controversy over the latter’s letter to Tennis Australia.

The Word Number 1 came under fire after writing to Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley, put forward some demands with regard to relaxation of quarantine restrictions in place for the Australian Open.

Novak Djokovic wrote to Tennis Australia seeking easing of quarantine rules

The issue snowballed into a major controversy as the Serb drew a torrent of criticism, including from peer Nick Kyrgios who called him “a tool”.

With the letter literally blowing up on his face, Djokovic issued a clarification saying that he merely spoke up for players, who were subjected to hard quarantine without the option of practice.

Novak Djokovic of Serbia plays a forehand in his Men’s Singles first round match against Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany during Day one of The Championships – Wimbledon 2019 at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 01, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

The 72 players in question were forced into strict isolation after some crew members in their chartered flights tested positive for Covid-19.

As it turned out later, four players were among a total of 10 people who returned positive tests for the pathogen.

In his letter, Djokovic urged Tennis Australia to consider providing better food to players in hard quarantine, shorten isolation periods for those who test negative and move all the players to “private houses with tennis courts”.

Zverev says Djokovic put forward demands raised by quarantined players

Opening up on the row in an interview to Eurosport, Zverev said that the Serb was wrongly portrayed in a negative light as he was only trying to help out fellow players.

The German revealed that Djokovic sent the letter out after a discussion with the players concerned in a “group chat”.

He added that the demands put forward by the Serb were raised by the players and he wasn’t seeking privileges for himself.

“It was not his own letter, it was the points that were asked by other players,” Zverev revealed.

He added that the reigning Australian Open champion was portrayed as the “bad guy” again for “just standing up for others”.

In his capacity as the founder and president of the Professional Tennis Players’ Association, Djokovic is known to take up players’ causes.

Read More: 2-Time Grand Slam Champion Explains Why Novak Djokovic “Needs to be loved” as Federer and Nadal Are

He floated the new front after stepping down as president of the ATP Player Council last year.