ATP Tour

Gilles Simon defends Novak Djokovic, hits out at Roger Federer

Gilles Simon
Gilles Simon

Gilles Simon has thrown his support behind Novak Djokovic following the Adria Tour fallout while he also took a swipe at Roger Federer for not using his voice to represent players.

World No 1 Djokovic has copped a lot of flak after his exhibition tournament, which was launched to raise funds for humanitarian projects for the Balkans, was cancelled midway through after several players, including the 17-time Grand Slam winner, tested positive for coronavirus.

Djokovic himself has called the "malicious" criticism a "witch-hunt" while Dominic Thiem, who also took part in the Adria Tour, insisted "it is very cheap to 'shoot' at Djokovic now".

Simon has also come to the defence of the Serb, saying he always looks after the best interests of the players.

"I tell myself that Novak is trying to tackle complicated issues in the interest of the players in general," he told L'Equipe.

"And I was bothered by this story of the Adria Tour because, by making a huge mistake, all this work fell apart.

"It's a 'media game' that wants that. After the errors with Adria Tour, all his (Djokovic's) work is reduced. It is easy to say: 'Never listen to him again!' now for the media."

He also criticised 20-time Grand Slam winner Federer, accusing the Swiss of losing his way when it comes to representing players.

"I knew Roger would step up to the plate when there were discussions on the prize money of the Grand Slams a while ago," he said.

"But the impression I have is that we lost him on the way, that the representation of the players does not matter to him. If there is a voice that carries, it is his."

Simon insists that the tennis community is very selective in how they portray Djokovic and Federer.

"I see Djokovic like any human being, with his strengths and flaws. But with Roger Federer, we only talk about his strengths. With Novak - only about his flaws," the Frenchman said.

He added: "It would annoy everyone if Djokovic breaks Federer's records. It angers people that he (Djokovic) is so strong.

"The anger against Novak is a huge mistake. Much of the public doesn't consider him as [important as] Roger or Rafa [Nadal]."

- TEAMtalk media

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