World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has received a lot of brickbats from the officials and the public in Australia over the last few days. His letter to Craig Tiley requesting an improvement in the conditions for players placed in hard lockdown has been roundly criticized, with many calling him selfish and ungrateful.
This is just the latest in a series of incidents over the past year where Novak Djokovic has come under fire. The most notable among those are the ill-fated Adria Tour which he organized last year, and the accidental hitting of a linesperson during the US Open which led to his default.
But there are some who feel Novak Djokovic is not wrong in the incident concerning the letter to Craig Tiley. Tiley himself came to Djokovic's defence earlier this week, which was followed by the Serb's own statement on the issue. And now former World No. 1 Boris Becker has also weighed in on the issue, firmly throwing his weight behind the Serb.
In an interview with Eurosport, Becker claimed that the 17-time Major winner simply wanted to take a stand for his fellow players. The German, who coached Novak Djokovic from 2014 to 2016, also asserted that the criticism the Serb received for his gesture was 'completely unjustified'.
"The points he wrote down were absolutely right and legitimate," Becker stated. "You get the feeling Novak Djokovic can do whatever he wants at the moment, he just gets a lot of criticism."
"In this case, really unjustified," Becker added. "He wanted to stand up for the players, just wanted to create fair conditions for everyone, but was sharply criticized, even by the prime minister of the country."
You have to ask yourself whether these are fair conditions for everyone: Novak Djokovic's former coach Boris Becker
Boris Becker, a two-time Australian Open winner himself, went on to add that the unequal training conditions for the 72 players who are in a hard lockdown will severely impact their preparations ahead of the first year's Grand Slam.
The German believes that no amount of training and preparation inside a hotel room can replace the on-court training and practice required for an athlete to perform at their highest level.
"A third (of the players) is certainly in adverse conditions in Australia," Becker said. "When they come out of quarantine, they haven't even been out in the fresh air, haven't played tennis. No matter how many steps they've taken in the room, they haven't played ball, and then they have a week to prepare for best-of-five matches, at least for the men, in the hot conditions."
"That task doesn't really work," he added. "All the winter preparation was for naught. You have to ask yourself whether these are fair conditions for everyone. As an organiser, you have to ask yourself: is this right, is this reasonable?"