Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have been staunchly defended by French tennis star Gilles Simon against allegations of feigning injuries to secure tournament victories. Simon argued that the two tennis greats were simply too talented to resort to such tactics.
Djokovic and Nadal were both accused of feigning injury during the 2023 Australian Open and the 2022 Wimbledon Championship, respectively. This sparked a heated debate among tennis fans and pundits, as many questioned the integrity of the two tennis greats.
While some argued that the players were simply trying to gain an advantage, others argued that the accusations were unfounded and that the players were simply trying to protect their health.
Gilles Simon wholeheartedly defended the 22-time Grand Slam champions, dismissing the accusations as baseless.
“When it’s Novak or Rafa, we think they’re kidding us because they win the Grand Slam,” he said. “But winning the Grand Slam is their level. They have such a margin on the guys behind that, not even fully, they win. They are stronger.”
Novak Djokovic won the 2023 Australian Open singles title. However, his victory was especially remarkable as he achieved it despite a muscle tear of approximately one inch in his left hamstring.
The World No.1 entered the tournament with lingering health concerns, as he was dealing with a hamstring injury sustained at the 2023 Adelaide International. Despite this, he was determined to compete and prove himself on the court.
The Serb exhibited signs of strain throughout the competition but persevered with the assistance of coaches and analgesics.
Rafael Nadal was similarly accused of faking his injury during the 2022 Wimbledon Championships. Fabio Fognini accused Nadal of faking an injury during their 2022 Wimbledon Championship final match against Taylor Fritz.
Despite the accusations, the Spaniard managed to rally from a set down twice and ultimately prevail over Fritz in a thrilling match.
Novak Djokovic will be absent from the ATP 1000 events in Indian Wells and Miami
Novak Djokovic will be absent from the ATP 1000 events at Indian Wells and Miami due to his lack of vaccination against the COVID-19 virus. He is expected to compete in the 2023 Dubai Open in late February, provided he makes a full recovery from the hamstring injury he sustained in Australia.
However, the World No.1’s prospects of having a successful March appear to be slim, as the Serb is still prohibited from entering the US due to his refusal to be vaccinated. He is likely to miss out on two Masters tournaments – the Indian Wells Masters (March 8-19) and the Miami Open (March 22- April 2).