Alexander Zverev has defended Novak Djokovic after the Serb was criticised for writing to Australian Open organisers asking them to ease quarantine restrictions for players.
Seventy-two players were subjected to hard quarantine upon arrival in Australia due to positive Covid tests on their flights and were not allowed to leave their hotel rooms for a fortnight. Meanwhile, the remainder of the ATP and WTA Tours were allowed outside for up to five hours to train.
Djokovic requested better food, shortening the isolation periods if players tested negative and having players moved to "private houses with tennis courts". He has been widely criticised for his proposals, including by Aussie star Nick Kyrgios who branded the world number one "a tool".
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However, Zverev insists Djokovic was just trying to help his fellow professionals and has again been "portrayed as the bad guy".
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"Those were the demands from other players who are in quarantine," Zverev told Eurosport Germany.
We were all in a group chat. Novak was just there as a leader and as the number one player in the world and he sent the letter out. It was not his own letter, it was the points that were asked by other players. He was again portrayed as the bad guy, which is not true because he was just standing up for others."
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Zverev also admitted that David Ferrer's decision to quit as his coach was tough to take.
The world number seven only appointed Ferrer to his coaching team in July last year on a trial basis, with the German reaching the US Open and Paris Masters finals in their spell working together. However, Ferrer called time on their relationship earlier in January.
"I didn't want to part with him. We said that we had to talk to each other after London and observe the world situation," Zverev said.
He then called me and said it was difficult because he wants to be with his wife and son. When he goes to tournaments with me, he has to go into two-week quarantine every time afterwards and can't spend the time with his family.
"That was hard for me because I didn't want to let him go. I loved him as a trainer. For me he was the best coach, apart from my father. I have to accept that, of course.
"We were an incredible match in terms of personality, the way we see tennis and coaching. The coaching work is not just what you do on the court. It's the personalities that have to fit together."
Away from the court, Zverev has faced accusations of domestic abuse by his former girlfriend Olga Sharypova, allegations he has said were "unfounded, untrue".
The Australian Open starts in Melbourne on February 8.
The 2021 Australian Open is live and exclusive on Eurosport. You can watch every moment on eurosport.co.uk and the Eurosport app.
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