Novak Djokovic was unable to defend his Australian Open title earlier this year due to his vaccination status. The former world number 1 was expelled from the country at the end of a ten-day soap opera, which also did serious damage to his image.
For the same reason, the Serbian phenomenon had to skip the US Open and all the American Masters 1000 (Indian Wells, Miami, Montreal and Cincinnati). After his Roland Garros disappointment, Nole turned her season around by winning Wimbledon and matching his idol Pete Sampras with seven Church Road titles.
The 35-year-old from Belgrade has thus won 21 Grand Slams, just one length behind Rafael Nadal’s record. The Spaniard won the Australian Open and Roland Garros this year, proving for the umpteenth time that he is a living legend.
A few days ago the news came that Djokovic will be able to compete in the 2023 Australian Open. Mats Wilander commented on this news to the Eurosport microphones.
Wilander talks about Djokovic
«Obviously it’s very important to him. [Novak Djokovic’s Australian Open inclusion]”, the tennis analyst told Eurosport.
“We had to guess the last time he was not allowed into Australia. He must have been heartbroken. We have no idea how he felt because he was so good at hiding it. For the game, this is probably the biggest news since Covid-19 first hit, because we were locked in this race between the three biggest and best players of all time on the men’s side, with three different contrasting players. styles emerging at different times.
Roger pushing the envelope, Nadal pushing Roger and then Novak coming in to «crash the party». If Novak hadn’t been allowed [to play unvaccinated]the story of our game would have become completely irrelevant.
Grand Slam numbers would have become completely irrelevant if Novak couldn’t play anymore. For most people, I’m saying we’d really like to know who we can tag #1 of all time. So I think it’s really important for the press and the space that we get in the media as a professional sport, I think it’s greatly enhanced by having that race come back and being alive again.»
McCarvel feels the nine-time Australian Open champion will be a heavy favorite against anyone on the tour in five sets in 2023, including Nadal. «I think Djokovic is still alone at the top of the mountain when it comes to best-of-5,» McCarvel said on a recent episode of ‘Courtside: The US Open Podcast’.