Novak Djokovic made his return to the Australian Open this year after missing the 2022 tournament due to his vaccination status.
Despite being a nine-time champion of the event, his absence from last year’s Open drew criticism, and the Djoker feels he is being unfairly treated this year.
During his first-round match, Djokovic used the bathroom with permission. However, EuroSport reported in a tweet that he “defied the umpire.”
The 21-time grand slam winner clarified the situation, saying that the umpire allowed him to use the restroom, but to use it quickly.
However, the situation prompted Djokovic to speak out against the media following his second-round victory.
“Again, I am publicly asking a question: Why didn’t the ATP or the Grand Slam come out and explain the situation when they can see that the media are publicly lynching me?” he told reporters.
“I am an easy target to be the villain. That is how they portray me. For me, that is now a normal occurrence, but I will not tolerate injustice,” he added. “Some things I can tolerate, some I cannot. They do not deserve for something like this to just be allowed, to get away with it.”
Djokovic made his displeasure with EuroSport known in a series of since-expired Instagram stories.
“Eurosport please get your informations checked before you post something judgmental and wrong,” Djokovic wrote (h/t Fox Sports Australia). “Chair umpire allowed me to go to toilet but she told me I don’t have toilet break, just change over break. So she told me (you didn’t capture that with camera) I had to hurry up. When I almost exited the court she called me (I didn’t hear) and it was to tell me that toilet was on the opposite side of the court.
“I found one where I went also, and I had to be quick because of the time. I didn’t “defy” her or the rules. She gave me permission and told me to be quick. Next time be mindful with what you post. You have responsibility towards many sport fans that follow your page @eurosport.”
EuroSport took down the tweet, and Djokovic said he spoke with executives from the network who “privately” apologized.
Earlier in the tournament, Djokovic asked an umpire to kick out a heckling fan who he said was “drunk out of his mind” and “not here to watch tennis.”
Djokovic faces Grigor Dimitrov in the third round Saturday at 3 a.m. ET. A win will tie him with Rafael Nadal for the most grand slams of all-time and give him his 10th victory in Melbourne.