Fresh from his latest Australian Open triumph, Novak Djokovic has hit out at his critics during the grueling two-week event.
The imperious Serb hammered Russia’s Daniil Medvedev 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 in Sunday night’s final to close the gap on old foes Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal on the all-time grand slam list.
Hardly far from the media spotlight, Djokovic was excoriated pre-tournament for detailing a list of so-called quarantine demands for the 72 players cooped up in hard lockdown, then accused of exaggerating an abdominal injury during his five-set third-round win over Taylor Fritz.
Speaking after his final’s success, Djokovic said “Emotionally [this] was one of hardest tournaments I had, to be honest, with quarantine and a lot of things happening in the media.
“The letter that I wrote, ideas and recommendations that I got from players was misinterpreted as my request and list of demands. Then the next thing you know within a couple of days I’m persona non grata in this country.
“I got injured in the third round. It was a rollercoaster ride if I can define it in one word. I think it makes it even sweeter for me.”
Of the criticism, the 18-time major champion said: “It seems unfair from some people that criticise and judge without really checking before. But as I said, it’s not really the first time. It happened so many times in my life, in my career. It will probably not be the last one.
“Of course, it hurts. I’m a human being like anybody else. I have emotions. I don’t enjoy when somebody attacks me in the media openly and stuff. I cannot say I don’t care about it. Of course, it does, I have to be honest.
“I didn’t allow it to hinder my performance. I think winning the trophy is in a way my answer. I think I’ve developed a thick skin over the years to just dodge those things and focus on what matters to me the most.”