Former world No 1 urges Australian public to give Novak Djokovic ‘another chance to explain himself’

Novak Djokovic with hand on heart

Former world No 1 Jim Courier has urged the Australian public to go easy on Novak Djokovic after the world No 1 courted yet more controversy in the build-up to the Australian Open.

On the back of 72 players being forced to go into quarantine after several people on their chartered flights to Melbourne tested positive for coronavirus, Djokovic sent a list of requests to government and tournament officials.

Among the requests – which some reported as a “list of demands” – were better food for those in hard lockdown as well as shorter quarantine periods and “private houses with tennis courts” for those affected.

Australian authorities immediately rejected the requests and a few days later the 17-time Grand Slam winner issued a statement to defend himself against allegations of being “selfish, difficult and ungrateful”.

Novak Djokovic hits back at allegations of being ‘selfish, difficult and ungrateful’

Djokovic has in the past been booed by crowds, but four-time Grand Slam winner Courier urged the Australian crowds not to be too harsh on the Serbian.

“Novak has gone out of his way to stand up for other players here in Australia,” he told Nine News.

“He was being a leader and it just came off wrong in the public and I hope the Australian public will give him another chance to at least explain himself.”

The American added: “He is sensitive to public opinion.

“He spends energy trying to court public opinion and based on what he’s done on the court he should be a huge fan favourite; he’s just come up at a time that a lot of the fan base have decided they’re a Roger (Federer) fan or a Rafa (Nadal) fan.”

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