Novak Djokovic recently opened up about the criticism he is often subjected to from the tennis media, lamenting how people often think he is being fake when in reality that is never the case.
Speaking in an interview with La Stampa (as quoted by Il Napolista), the 21-time Grand Slam champion regretted how his actions are often misconstrued as those of a man who wants to be loved. Djokovic declared that he was nothing but genuine, before admitting that he was disappointed at how freedom of speech has all but ceased to exist in the era of political correctness.
"I know that people sometimes think I'm fake, that I do certain things because I want to be loved. It's not like that, I'm just trying to be genuine. It's something we're losing," Djokovic said. "It is not possible to please everyone but by now the politically correct forces us to give up expressing our ideas with respect, without hatred, but with freedom. Freedom of speech for me today is just an illusion."
As an example, the former World No. 1 pointed to his deportation from Australia earlier this year ahead of the Australian Open. Djokovic was deported from the country after concerned authorities ruled that letting him in might lead to a rise in anti-vax sentiments.
The World No. 8 recalled how he had never professed such an opinion, adding that he had only ever wanted bodily autonomy - which he believes has nothing to do with the anti-vax movement.
"I had an extraordinary example of this this year, with what happened to me around the vaccine issue," Djokovic said. "I expressed myself for the freedom to be able to dispose of one's body, and immediately I was accused of being a no-vax, which I am not. If you don't belong to a certain way of thinking, you quickly become the bad guy. That's no good."
"I'm also interested in talking about what's wrong with the world of tennis" - Novak Djokovic
During the interview Novak Djokovic also stated he was interested in raising awareness about things that are 'wrong' with tennis, even though he wanted nothing to do with politics in general.
Among other things, the Serb does not understand why only 500 odd people stand to make a living from such a popular sport. Djokovic wants to know why tennis is not expanded to include more.
"Everything to do with health, for example. But I'm also interested in talking about what's wrong with the world of tennis," Djokovic said. "A sport that in terms of popularity and diffusion comes second only to football and basketball in the NBA, which is followed and practiced everywhere, even in China there are many fields, but which gives a living to just 500 people: does it seem possible to you?"
The 35-year-old is of the opinion that it all comes down to media manipulation. He believes everyone is focused only on Grand Slam winners and not on the thousands of other players who are struggling in the lower levels of the game.
"Here too the manipulation of the media has something to do with it: we are only talking about the 2 or 3 million that someone who wins a Grand Slam earns, and not about the thousands of players all over the world who don't have the possibility of making a job out of it," Djokovic said.