Novak Djokovic cemented his status as the firm favorite for this year’s Australian Open title with a convincing win in his opening match on Monday – and now the time has come to end some myths that continue to be attached to the 21-time Grand Slam champion.
Djokovic was pushed by gritty opponent Roberto Carballes Baena, with the first two sets testing his injured hamstring that was heavily taped the nine-time champion made his first appearance on Rod Laver Arena in two years.
Yet Djokovic got better as the match went on as he won 6-3 6-4 6-0, with his performance in the final set confirming he is playing close to his best once again.
So the moment has surely arrived to banish some of the nonsense that continues to circulate around Djokovic, with some of the stories invented by his own army of always vocal supporters.
DJOKOVIC BEING BOOED
After Djokovic was deported from Australia over his Covid vaccine stance last January, there has been weeks of speculation over whether he would be booed when he returned to his favourite court in Melbourne.
Well, that idea was well and truly banished as he received a rapturous reception from the Australian Open fans.
“Unbelievable atmosphere, thank you so much for staying,” Djokovic said to the crowd. “Thank you for giving me such a welcoming reception I could only dream of.
“I feel very happy that I’m back in Australia and back on this court. I couldn’t ask for a better start to the tournament.”
THE MEDIA AGENDA
Why would the tennis media have an agenda against Novak Djokovic?
This story is constantly pedaled on Twitter by those who claim to be devotees of the game’s true world No 1, but it makes no sense.
Tennis is a sport that always battles to snatch media coverage and few players can achieve that aim like Djokovic and his long-time rivals Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
Several journalists disagreed with Djokovic’s vaccine stance last year, but anyone involved in tennis grateful to Djokovic for the profile he has given to the sport.
As the media need stories to write about and stars to celebrate, they need Djokovic more than he needs them.
DJOKOVIC IS A VICTIM
What a load of nonsense!
Those who like to promote the idea that Novak gets treated differently in comparison to his rivals saw his deportation from Australia and subsequent absence from events in North America as evidence that there is an agenda against their hero from the highest levels of the game.
The idea that Federer or Nadal receive different treatment compared to Djokovic is reported as fact by social media attention seekers, but Novak is not a victim.
He is a champion who has overcome some of the greatest players in tennis history and is on course to claim his place as the greatest player of all time.
This is not the story of a victim.
DJOKOVIC FAKES INJURIES
As Djokovic took to the court for his opening match at this year’s Australian Open with strapping on his injured hamstring, conspiracy theorists were quick to take to social media to suggest he was ‘faking’ another injury.
Djokovic’s 2021 Australian Open win was achieved despite an abdominal injury has been the subject of plenty of discussion, with his quarter-final opponents in that event fuelling the debate.
“If he was really, really injured, he wouldn’t have kept playing,” Taylor Fritz told reporters after his defeat against Djokovic, but this story is false.
Djokovic revealed he had scans to prove he had a muscle injury two years ago and it is clear that he has a minor hamstring now.
Why would Djokovic fake an abdominal injury in 2021 or a hamstring problem now? Such a plan would not help him or affect his opponent, so this story makes no sense.
Instead of criticizing or questioning the Serbian, tennis observers should admire him for overcoming the challenges put before him.
HOW IT ALL ENDS
This story will end with Djokovic hailed by all tennis observers as the greatest tennis player of all-time.
He will win in excess of 25 Grand Slam titles to ensure he finishes his career with more major titles than any male or female player in the history of the game.
There is also a good chance that he will overhaul Jimmy Connors all-time record of 109 career titles and he will have the most weeks at No 1 in the rankings.
Djokovic does not need the Twitter trolls to defend him as he will have the adulation and acclaim he deserves and merits when his tennis career finally comes to an end.
Being the greatest player of all-time is the only accolade that really matters to this great champion and he is well on his way to securing that status.
The article Time to end the farcical myths built up around Novak Djokovic appeared first on Tennis365.com.