Novak Djokovic should "ignore any negativity" as he goes in search of the Grand Slam record, says former British No.1 Tim Henman.
The World No.1 has come under fire in the past 12 months after he arranged a tennis tournament during the first wave of Covid-19 pandemic, and despite his dominance on the court the Serb has struggled in recent years to garner the same universal admiration as rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Djokovic hit out at his critics in Melbourne, claiming that he is not as easily forgiven for his mistakes as his rivals, but Henman believes that the 17-time Grand Slam champion should ignore the negativity as he goes after a record-breaking ninth Australian Open.
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Speaking in his role as a Eurosport expert, he said: “This is an interesting topic for all of us, but he should ignore it.
“When I was playing, I always felt it was very important to control the things I could control. That was purely my preparation and my performance.
“Everything else, I didn’t worry about it or focus on it. I didn’t waste any energy on it because I can’t control it.
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“For me, when I look at Novak’s record and performance, he needs to focus on what he does. Perceptions, other people’s thoughts…. I’m surprised he gives one per-cent of his time to anything of this kind of thing. It’s not important and he can’t control it.”
The former World No.4 also believes that Djokovic remains the heavy favourite in Melbourne despite struggling with a back injury.
“Novak is the player to beat,” added Henman. “His record in Melbourne over the years is phenomenal.
“Aside from tournaments on clay when Nadal is playing, Djokovic is the favourite for every tournament he plays.'
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