Novak Djokovic made a rather startling admission yesterday, revealing that he had used all kinds of painkillers and available medical treatment during his stint at the 2021 Australian Open.
The Serb sustained an abdominal tear during the third-round match against Taylor Fritz and had to duke it out in an extraordinary five-setter before disposing of the American en route to his title run.
While the 20-time Grand Slam champion receiving medical help during the clash is not new information, his own admission that he took painkillers to help his cause has some profound implications for his fans.
For starters, the World No. 3's fans have been hounding Rafael Nadal for doing the exact same thing during his triumph at the French Open this year, where he took painkillers to anesthetize his foot. The words "doping" and "cheating" have repeatedly come up during discussions online, an accusation that turned so viral that the Director-General of the World Anti-Doping Agency had to step in and clear the 22-time Major winner's name.
Now that Djokovic has admitted to doing the same, Rafael Nadal fans on social media had a field day dragging those who have rebuked their favorite in the past. Many wondered if the 35-year-old's fans would extend the same degree of criticism to him, a rhetorical question that only had no as its answer.
Others were more composed in their condemnation, remarking that the former World No. 1's revelation should confirm that using painkillers at the elite level was nothing out of the ordinary.
Users on Twitter hoped the Serb's fans wouldn't use the same argument to bring down Nadal's achievements again in the future, since they now know pain medication is a common practice in the sport.
"So according to [Djokovic fans] he is doping, cheating and so on. Or when it’s about their idol they will suddenly forget the song," one fan tweeted.
"Wait a minute. Where are the Nolefam fanatics now? Djokovic can take as many painkillers, therapy and treatments to win a GS. In case of Rafa..? Both are great players and supreme athletes. Fanatic fans should respect them and keep their shallow minds shut," another user posted.
"So it is ok for him to do that? Does his fan base know this," one account sarcastically posted.
"Waiting to hear the outrage from the farm and the calls for Novak to be banned. Suspect it won't be coming though. I wonder why. Fwiw, I think this is fine but then again I haven't spent the last month crying about pain treatment being equal to doping," another fan tweeted.
Novak Djokovic can move one step closer to Rafael Nadal in the Slam race on Sunday
Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic will step on to the tennis court on Sunday hoping to reduce the gap between him and Rafael Nadal in the Slam race. The World No. 3 will take on Nick Kyrgios in the final of the 2022 Wimbledon Championships, where a win will give him his 21st Grand Slam title, one short of the Mallorcan's record tally of 22.
The 35-year-old comes into the contest with a 2-0 head-to-head deficit against the Australian, but this is the first time the duo are facing off against each other on grass.