Novak Djokovic has been accused of trying to present a false persona to the world by former Wimbledon doubles champion Frederik Lochte Nielsen.
Nielsen believes that his young compatriot Holger Rune has a far more authentic approach to dealing with the media.
The doubles expert feels that it isn’t necessary for Djokovic to keep up the facade that he allegedly presents.
Nielsen waded into the topic while speaking to Danish publication SpilXperten about the media image of Rune.
He would also compare Rune to Aussie firebrand Nick Kyrgios whom Nielsen feels is also an authentic character.
“I think Holger is really good in the media, including how he presents himself on social media,” Nielsen told SpilXperten.
“He is honest, and he truly stands by himself.
“He gives good and funny answers, and I actually think he is also good on TV.
“We know how Nick Kyrgios presents himself in various media, and Holger has a bit of that in him. He is not afraid to show a part of himself.
“Holger has a fresh attitude, and it also helps him build value off the court, if we were to talk about that.
“That’s exactly what I find disappointing about Novak Djokovic. I really like Novak in many respects, but it disappoints me that he doesn’t stay true to himself.
“He tries to show to himself and to the world that he is a different person than he actually is. I don’t think he needs to do that.”
In defense of Djokovic, his wariness of the press is informed by past experiences of attack pieces being written about him and other negative reporting.
Nielsen still feels that it is a great shame that players feel the need to project a sanitized image all the time.
He feels that players like Kyrgios and Rune are unfairly targeted by the media.
“There are so many really boring tennis players, and he has improved significantly in terms of his behavior on the court,” Nielsen said in an earlier interview regarding Rune.
“But you have to remember that there has been a camera on him since he was 16 years old. He’s still just a kid who is passionate and loves to play tennis. He’s still learning about life. I think it’s really cool that he gives something to the audience.”
“I think it’s a shame, for example, that Novak Djokovic doesn’t just embrace himself and stand by the person he is.
“However, I also think that a narrative is being built around Holger that is not entirely correct. He is not as bad as he is made out to be, and when he has lost a fight, it is quite normal that there is a headline that says ‘Annoyed Holger Rune’. That, I think, is lazy journalism.”
Both Rune and Djokovic will be turning out at the Giorgio Armani Tennis Classic at Hurlingham this week.
The exhibition will serve as Djokovic’s sole warm-up event ahead of Wimbledon.