Exclusive – Former British No 1 on the great Novak Djokovic and Nick Kyrgios debate

Kevin Palmer
Novak Djokovic and Nick Kyrgios
Novak Djokovic and Nick Kyrgios

Novak Djokovic has been lavished with praise after his latest Wimbledon triumph and now a former British No 1 has suggested the perception that he is not popular with the wider tennis fans base is misplaced.

Djokovic claimed his seventh Wimbledon title on Sunday by serving up a magnificent display to beat Nick Kyrgios, with Laura Robson telling Tennis365 that the notion the Serbian is lacks support around the world is misplaced.

There is often a feeling that Djokovic has been lagging behind his great rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the popularity stakes, but Robson suggests the former world No 1 has a huge fan base that continues to grow.

“I think he has got a huge amount of fans,” Robson told Tennis365 at a Play Your Way To Wimbledon event.

“Every time I commentate on one of his matches, my Twitter blows up because there are so many people who are die hard fans of his. They are committed.

“I do feel like he has a lot of fans. Compared to Nadal and Federer, they might not be as vocal in stadiums, but people just know them better from years and years of watching them.

“I feel Djokovic gets a lot of credit. He is probably going to end up as the greatest of all-time, so he deserves a lot more respect.”

Robson also gave her verdict on defeated Wimbledon finalist Kyrgios, who has long divided opinion among tennis fans.

The Aussie has long been one of the more unpredictable characters in the game, with his antics on and off the court often overshadowing his sublime talents with a racket in his hand.

Yet Robson believes he draws new fans to tennis and can thrive after his run to the Wimbledon final.

“I think he is good for tennis,” she added of Kyrgios. “He gets people watching, get full stadiums and especially in the first week, some of the Court 1 matches were not over crowded and every played it was packed.

“Some of his antics towards the umpires and line judges should not be tolerated at all and they should probably be a lot stricter than they have with him.

“It’s weird. I want a happy medium from him. I want him to still have the personality, flair and excitement. I hope he doesn’t lose what makes people want to watch him, but I think he is one his way.

“I never believed he would be in a Grand Slam final this year, but it seems he is in a really good head space.”

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