Djokovic: “I care what people think about me, but I will continue to stand up for what I believe in”

Speaking to Serbian journalists during the Paris-Bercy Masters, world No 1 Novak Djoković admits that sometimes the negative media headlines get to him, but that it won’t stop him from fighting for what he believes is the right thing

3 November 2021

On Tuesday evening, Novak Djokovic played his first singles match since the US Open and defeated Marton Fucsovics 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 to reach the third round of the Rolex Paris Masters.

In his Serbian press conference before his second round match, Djokovic was asked to speak about various other topics besides his tennis – everything related to the themes dominating the tennis headlines in recent weeks – from the conditions for traveling to Australia to vaccination status to the unity of players.

“When you’re a well known individual and have a personality profile that has earned a certain status in society… I am grateful to be part of a sport that is global and popular all over. In some studies presented to us by the ATP, tennis is ranked third in the world by popularity, which we share with cricket. Only football and basketball are ahead, and basketball is not so far away. I am successful in a global sport and I receive plenty of attention. That attention can have many positive aspects and benefits in both the professional and private life, but can also create an additional burden. You have an influence on the youth, who look to you as a role model and wish to become like you one day. Additionally, it’s expected of you to offer your thoughts on topics that are beyond your own profession. I typically make an effort to keep a distance, although when I feel the urge to share my thoughts, I do so. I am someone who holds fast to principles, life values, human rights… That is something that has been abused in the past.”

With regards to the 2022 Australian Open, Djokovic repeated what he said in the English part of the press conference – that he is holding off on making a decision about Melbourne but he did go into some more detail.

“Regarding Australia – to avoid speculation and assumptions, I am waiting for the official announcement to be released before I decide what I will do. I am not thinking only of myself but of all the other tennis players. We are colleagues, parts of a whole, we should be more united when it comes to important situations, but unfortunately that unity has not existed in the last 30, 40 years… We have now made the first step (with the PTPA), but there is still much to be done. The unity between the players is not on the required level. If it was, we would deal with such situations much more easily.”

“What motivates me most is the Davis Cup”

Djokovic

Djokovic, who meets either Gael Monfils or Adrian Mannarino next, went on to say that he is very motivated for the final stretch of the season, which includes the ATP Finals and the Davis Cup for him this year.

“Otherwise I wouldn’t be here. It’s my wish to finish the year as No.1, I have a good chance to do so, and what motivates me most is the Davis Cup

Djokovic mentioned previously that some of his comments are misquoted or misconstrued, so the media asked him whether the headlines in which he is portrayed negatively affects him.

“I don’t read the news, neither on apps nor the printed versions, nor have I watched the news on the TV for some years now. However, due to my presence on social media, I am exposed to the content that is present in the media. I cannot say that I am not affected – I’m human, I have emotions, and of course I care… However much it means to me that I represent the right values, that I fight for justice and truth, in equal measure I care what people think about me. My life doesn’t depend on it of course, for I know who and what I am, but I try to live life in adherence to the right virtues. That I make mistakes, I absolutely do, but I get triggered by injustice and the spreading of lies.”

“It doesn’t get to me as much as before, as I am in some way used to it by now – in world media, as well as domestic… A propaganda campaign has formed, I am being dragged into everything based on things I (had) said in the past. The system of becoming informed has been sidetracked onto a path that is no longer the same as the one on which the basis of journalism was formed. Free journalism and information is less and less… More and more the control is in the hands of one or two sources, and thus propaganda is spread that suits the elites or a select group. All in all, for sure it affects me, but that will not prevent me from advocating for things that I deem to be right.”

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