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John Isner hits out at 'toxic' critics, agrees with fan who claims Novak Djokovic is treated unfairly by journalists

Novak Djokovic (L) and John Isner
Novak Djokovic (L) and John Isner
Namit Kumar
ANALYST
Modified 13 Jan 2021, 19:33 IST
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Novak Djokovic had a controversial 2020 season to say the least, which saw him draw heat from various parts of the tennis world for a variety of reasons. But many have also defended the Serb in recent times, claiming that the treatment meted out to him by the media is unfair. And the latest to endorse that view is USA's John Isner.

Djokovic's defenders believe that the media often doesn't tell the whole story when it comes to the World No. 1. Djokovic himself recently claimed there is a 'witch hunt' against him, and Isner supposedly agrees with the Serb's point.

Following his withdrawal from the Australian Open, Isner first vented his frustration with the Twitter platform and the negativity of the people on it.

"Man, there are some really hateful tennis fans on Twitter. Toxic stuff. Be happy, people!" the American tweeted.

Isner also spent time replying to some of the comments he received, including one from a Novak Djokovic fan. The American agreed with the fan's assertion that journalists' treatment of the Serb has been "really toxic", by posting a simple "Yes".

Isner's frustrations could perhaps be related to the flak he has received for his views on the COVID-19 pandemic. The American was initially a massive advocate for tennis to restart during the heart of the lockdown, the fallback from which was huge on Twitter.

More recently, the American also received criticism online about his claim that coaches in the United States' National Football League (NFL) should not be forced to wear masks.

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Many American fans and members of the media have labeled Isner as a Trump-supporter, particularly since he was critical of protesters during the the 'Black Lives Matter' movement.

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Fans claim unfair media treatment towards Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic lifting the 2020 Australian Open title
Novak Djokovic lifting the 2020 Australian Open title

The 2020 season was one of outstanding achievements on the court for Novak Djokovic. Despite the disjointed schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Serb went on to lift four titles - including Masters 1000s in Rome and Cincinnati, and a Slam title at the Australian Open.

The 33-year-old established himself as the out-and-out World No. 1, ending the year at the top spot for a record-equaling sixth time. That has also set him up up perfectly to eclipse Roger Federer for the most weeks spent as World No. 1.

However, Novak Djokovic had several issues with the media and other members of the tennis world off the court. For one thing, the Serb hosted the controversial Adria Tour exhibition tournament in the Balkans, which saw himself and three other players testing positive for COVID-19. There was massive backlash in the press for his alleged recklessness, which was what prompted Djokovic to make the 'witch-hunt' comment.

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Controversy continued to follow the Serb as the tour restarted in the United States. The World No. 1 first decided to form a players' union separate from the ATP, a move which drew heat from the likes of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer and resulted in Djokovic's eventual resignation from the position of President of the ATP Players' Council.

The 33-year-old then entered the US Open as the overwhelming favorite, but was defaulted from his fourth round match against Pablo Carreno Busta for launching a ball in frustration and striking a lineswoman.

Novak Djokovic at the 2020 US Open
Novak Djokovic at the 2020 US Open

In the aftermath of these controversies, many fans of Novak Djokovic have claimed that he has been treated unfairly compared to the rest of the field. The have argued that the likes of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal constantly get away with similar kind of behavior.

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Moreover, many fans and fellow players believe Novak Djokovic's move to create the PTPA is genuinely for a good cause. They repeatedly highlight how the new body can drive change in the men's game and lead to financial equality for the lower-ranked players on tour.

For good reasons or bad, the Serb was constantly in the headlines during the 2020 season. And he will likely continue to be so as he is on the verge of making history in Australia next month.

Published 13 Jan 2021, 19:33 IST
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