Patrick Mouratoglou was one of the first to defend Novak Djokovic after former Nike tennis director Mike Nakajima said that the World No. 1 was not a very marketable athlete. Mouratoglou’s support for the Serb has earned praise from former Australian player Paul McNamee, who commended the French coach’s “bravery.”

In a recently-released book, The Roger Federer Effect, Nakajima highlighted some of Djokovic’s controversies to suggest that the Serb was himself responsible for brands preferring other players with a cleaner image. Nakajima recalled the 2020 US Open when the 22-time Grand Slam champion was disqualified for hitting a line judge and the recent controversy regarding his stance on COVID-19 vaccines.

The former Nike director was in charge when the company roped in Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal as its brand ambassadors. Nakajima added that even if Djokovic ends up being the most successful player, he will never be the most marketable athlete.

He could well be the most successful tennis player ever. But there’s always a dark cloud around him. It’s like he brings it upon himself,” Nakajima said.

Mouratoglou, who has worked with players like Serena Williams, Stefanos Tsitsipas, and Holger Rune, stated that he preferred people who acknowledged their flaws and did not fake perfection.

“To answer Nakashima about Nike and Novak: Whether we agree or not, like or dislike Novak, I personally prefer a real human being with his qualities, his beliefs and his flaws than a perfect untrue image of perfection. Sanctifying perfection is denying our condition as humans,” Mouratoglou tweeted.

Former doubles World No. 1 McNamee advocated Mouratoglou’s views, saying:

“I commend your bravery and authenticity in saying this Patrick, which surely questions the lack of objectivity by certain commercial interests, and the mainstream narrative.”

“No brainer; he was carrying an injury” – Paul McNamee on Novak Djokovic’s hamstring controversy

Novak Djokovic picked up a hamstring injury at the Adelaide International 1 and carried it throughout his title run at the 2023 Australian Open. However, some fans and athletes raised questions about the legitimacy of the injury, particularly because the Serb was playing extraordinary tennis.

Paul McNamee was among those who defended the 35-year-old, saying his injury was why he went for more winners than usual.

“For the record, I’ve never seen Djokovic move that badly, or go for so many winners… it’s a no brainer he was carrying an injury, but he was dedicated enough and good enough to overcome it. How? By being the best player right now by a good margin,” McNamee tweeted.

The World No. 1 will next be seen at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, to be played from February 27 to March 4.