A former tennis professional player has questioned the favourable treatment he believes Roger Federer gets in comparison to Novak Djokovic. The Serbian star captured three Grand Slam titles in 2021 to draw level with Federer and Rafael Nadal with 20 major wins – although he missed out on a record breaking fourth after losing in the final of the US Open to Daniil Medvedev.
However, despite his undoubted place among the all-time greats, Djokovic has long been viewed as a divisive figure by tennis fans.
In 2020, he was thrown out of the US Open for accidentally hitting a ball at a line-judge and at the Tokyo Olympics this summer, was widely criticised for his racquet abuse as he slipped to a bronze medal play-off defeat against Pablo Carreno Busta.
He also caused controversy after the ATP suspended all action during the Covid-19 pandemic, publicly stating that he would oppose any vaccination.
And now Nikola Pilic, a former Croatian professional player, has defended the 34-year-old claiming he receives inferior treatment compared to fellow legend Federer.
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“He has the same number of Grand Slams as Nadal and Federer, he has a positive head-to-head against record against them, he is inching toward 350 weeks spent as No. 1,” continued Pilic. “I am not subjective, Novak is the best of all time,” he declared.
Pilic reached a French Open final and Wimbledon semi-final during his career, but like Djokovic, was no stranger to controversy himself.
He was the catalyst of the 1973 Wimbledon boycott, after the Yugoslav tennis federation alleged he’d refused to represent them in a Davis Cup tie against New Zealand. His subsequent suspension meant he could not enter Wimbledon and in protest, 81 of his fellow professionals withdrew from playing at SW19.
Since retirement, he’s worked as a coach to three Davis Cup teams – Germany, Croatia, and Serbia – and has set up his own tennis academy in Bavaria (Germany).