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Djokovic not happy with 'unfair' criticism relating to ATP Board saga

Andrew Hendrie in ATP Tour 16 May 2019
  • Djokovic was involved in a nine-minute exchange with journalist Ben Rothenberg in Rome
  • The World No. 1 feels he has been unfairly targeted by sections of the media throughout the messy ATP Board saga
Novak Djokovic (PA Images)

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic believes he’s been subjected to ‘unfair’ criticism from sections of the media and members of the tennis community as the ongoing ATP Board saga continues to drag on in Rome.

Djokovic is the the President of the ATP Player Council and was part of a vote that ousted ATP Executive Chairman and President Chris Kermode earlier this season. The World No. 1 also has a friendly relationship with Justin Gimelstob, who a couple of weeks ago finally stepped down from his role on the ATP Board following his court troubles relating to an alleged violent assault on a former friend.



Gimelstob was believed to be against Kermode, but now the American has resigned, calls have been made for Kermode to have a chance at being reinstated, led by Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, both of whom have supported him publicly.

"If this happens, why not? In our sport we need as many quality candidates as possible," Djokovic said at the Madrid Open earlier this month.
"He's someone that has been a president for quite a few years and knows the tour inside out."

However, when questioned by journalist Ben Rothenberg in Rome this week about the matter, Djokovic didn’t hold back his true feelings about the entire situation, declaring he was upset at being painted as the leading villain.

“The way it was presented in the media, I didn’t really like it and I don’t think it’s fair that you guys point out myself as the decision-maker,” he said.
“I am the president of council but it consists of 10 players so the majority decides. I am one of the 10.”

Djokovic went on to question the reliability of Rothenberg’s sources and alluded to certain sections of the media having personal agendas and only posting about particular pieces of information in order to create a story and friction.

Rothenberg hit back by saying Djokovic wasn’t transparent with his information and that the Serbian could communicate better with the media in order to ensure the correct story was being told.

But Djokovic wasn’t backing down, declaring the media’s portrayal of him throughout the saga has been ‘unfair’.

"I feel that I've been exposed way too much for being president of the council and having that role," he said.
"Everyone holds me accountable for every single thing that happens in tennis at the moment, which I think is unfair. Because I'm not the only one there.
"If someone wants to understand the way the structure works he wouldn't be having that approach. That's what I'm trying to talk to you about here – not about information going out. Some is correct, some is not.
"I just feel like the way we go about things there is a lack of respect. Just pointing out to one guy and putting all the pressure on him. That's the only thing – nothing against you personally. I'm just feeling like the process could be handled differently."

Djokovic and Rothenberg went back-and-forth for nine minutes and almost brought an abrupt end to the press conference.

You can watch the entire interview below:



Djokovic begins his Rome Masters campaign on Thursday against Denis Shapovalov after play was rained out on Wednesday.


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Djokovic not happy with "unfair" criticism relating to ATP Board saga

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic believes he’s been subjected to ‘unfair’ criticism from sections of the media and members of the tennis community as the ongoing ATP Board saga continues to drag on in Rome.

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