Djokovic Has Been 'Misunderstood' By Fans And Media Says Former Rival Federer

Djokovic Has Been 'Misunderstood' By Fans And Media Says Former Rival Federer

by Nurein Ahmed

Roger Federer has defended 24-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic for what he termed a "misunderstanding" from a large section of his fans and media.

Djokovic's place as the greatest tennis player of all time is unquestionable. He has won more Grand Slams and spent more weeks at No. 1 than any other player, but he has not always received the fanfare to match it.

In fact, he's always been portrayed as the pantomime villain in tennis stadiums because of his strong personality and confidence, which was mistaken for arrogance during the early phase of his career.

When he broke out from Federer and Rafael Nadal's shadows, many tennis fans did not like him. Djokovic desired to end the duopoly that Federer and Nadal enjoyed for many years in the late noughties and was determined to beat them no matter what it took.

In the premiere of his documentary, Federer: Twelve Final Days, the Swiss spoke in detail about his longtime rival and why his popularity with the wider tennis community was destined to have a dent from the beginning.

"I guess he was the party crasher of Rafa and Roger fans. There was a lot of Rafa-Roger love there, so when Novak came probably a lot of people said, ‘Look, we don’t need a third guy. We’re happy with Roger and Rafa.'"

"The Federer fans at the beginning didn’t really like him because they just thought, ‘Roger’s a bit more easy, he does it with ease.’ Then Novak came in with his strong personality and that unbelievable grit of wanting to win at all costs. I think also Novak was triggered by the relationship with the fans. I think that deep focus maybe scared some people away."

Still, Federer has grown to admire and appreciate what Djokovic has achieved in his career. The 42-year-old doesn't solely depend on people's opinions, especially the media, to reflect his morals and values.

"I think he’s been a little bit misunderstood. I look past the media and I see at the end the man he is. If I take away his game, who is he? What are his values? I know he cares very deeply about his family."


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