Ever since the professional tour shut down last March, Djokovic has found himself in the eye of a media storm - which the Serb himself has described as a 'witch hunt'. From his views on vaccinations to his role in the Adria Tour and his US Open default, Djokovic's missteps dominated the global tennis headlines in 2020.
But in an interview with Tennis Majors, Goran Ivanisevic expressed a fair bit of dismay at the way Djokovic was criticized.
"Everything started with the Adria Tour; they were after him even before that," Ivanisevic said. "But in the last year it seemed to me as if I am watching that film The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (laughs). Why is he being treated that way?"
"What happened at the US Open, it was as if everyone was glad because that kind of shit happened to him," Ivanisevic added.
After a brief lull, Novak Djokovic was back in the headlines this January - and again for all the wrong reasons. First he attracted backlash for the WhatsApp conversation with Craig Tiley which got misreported as a list of demands. Later during the Australian Open, the Serb was accused of faking an injury.
"In Australia he stood up for his fellow players and again, let’s kick Novak Djokovic because he is the only one to speak up, everyone else stays silent," Ivanisevic said. "Then, the cherry on top… How shall I put this? The most perfidious, actually the saddest thing were accusations that he was faking an injury. Why on earth would he do that? Why would the best player in the world make up an injury, and he was up 2 sets to love at that point! When some other top player is injured, it is considered a heroic act for them to even step on the court. But when it is Novak, he is faking it."
Goran Ivanisevic further asserted that he had never seen any other player being treated in this manner.
"Throughout my career I have witnessed players doing all sorts of things, but nobody got the kind of treatment Novak Djokovic does," the Croat went on.
Ivanisevic believes that Djokvoic's Serbian background and his knack of speaking his mind may have something to do with the way he is treated by the media.
"Probably because of his background, people from Balkans are always looked at differently," Ivanisevic said. "Also, Novak Djokovic is not afraid to speak his mind and to fight for causes he believes in."
The Australian Open title tastes the sweetest of them all: Novak Djokovic's coach Goran Ivanisevic
During the interview, Goran Ivansievic described Novak Djokovic's latest Australian Open triumph as the 'sweetest' of all his Major titles.
"Personally, as a coach and as a fan of Novak Djokovic, this title tastes the sweetest of them all," Ivanisevic said. "Novak would probably say Roland Garros 2016 or his first Wimbledon, but for me, after a year in which he was thrashed by the media from all disposable weapons…It feels really good."
Ivanisevic went on to claim that the combination of the media backlash, the quarantine conditions and the physical difficulties made the victory very special for the entire team.
"It was hectic, something we have not experienced before," the Croat said. "42 days in Australia, the quarantine, the injury, crowd leaving in the middle of a match because of the lockdown, bleak atmosphere for a few days and then the perfect final match that Novak Djokovic played from every aspect."
According to Ivanisevic, the fact that the win could play a big role in the chase for the all-time Slam record also added to its significance.
"At the same time, it could turn out that this title was extremely important in the broader context (race for the most Slam titles)," the 49-year-old added.