Former World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka touched upon Novak Djokovic's injury controversy, using her own experiences to sympathize with the Serb and what he has been facing in the media.
Djokovic sustained a left hamstring injury while competing in the 2023 Adelaide International 1, which caused him some trouble in the Australian Open as well, as he was seen taking a medical break in almost all of his matches.
However, some media comments suggested that his injuries were not as serious as he made them look, implying that the 21-time Grand Slam champion has been "faking" his injuries to some extent. The Serb, however, has responded bluntly to such accusations, declaring that he had nothing to prove to others.
"Only my injuries are questioned. When some other players are injured, then they are the victims, but when it is me, I am faking it. It is very interesting. I don’t feel that I need to prove anything to anyone," he said.
Following that, speaking in her press conference following her quarterfinal win over Jessica Pegula at Melbourne Park, Victoria Azarenka remarked that she "resonates" with everything Djokovic said about his injury, adding that not all players are "villains" and "heroes," but rather regular human beings who go through so much.
"I actually can resonate what Novak said the other day. There is sometimes, like, I don't know, incredible desire for a villain and a hero story that has to be written. But we're not villains, we're not heroes, we are regular human beings that go through so many, many things," Azarenka said.
She compared the Serb's story to her own, citing her controversial medical timeout during her semifinal match against Sloane Stephens at the 2013 Australian Open. The Belarusian pointed out how no one saw the full picture but instead believed the assumptions, lamenting that it didn't matter to them how hard she attempted to justify her actions.
"Assumptions and judgments, all those comments, are just s**t because nobody's there to see the full story. It didn't matter how many times I said my story, it did not cut through," Azarenka said.
"I'm really glad that my body has responded really well, tonight I didn't feel any pain" - Novak Djokovic's latest injury update
Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic has advanced to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, defeating Alex de Minaur on Monday. After two hours and seven minutes, the former World No. 1 claimed a comfortable 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 victory over the Australian.
The 35-year-old later provided an injury update during his post-match press conference, declaring that his body has responded positively to treatment and that he felt no pain during his match against the Australian.
"I'm really glad that my body has responded really well. Tonight I didn't feel any pain. I moved as well as I have the whole tournament. It means we are progressing in the right direction," he said.
Up next, he clashes against fifth seed Andrey Rublev, who advanced to the last eight with an epic five-set win over Holger Rune.