Novak Djokovic has returned to Australia twelve months after the absurd soap opera that had led to his expulsion from the country. The Serbian phenomenon had not been able to participate in the 2022 Australian Open due to his vaccination status, which had caused an uproar that had gone around the world.
The former ATP number 1 had been forced to leave Australia and had suffered serious damage to his image. For the same reason, the 35-year-old Belgrade also had to give up the US Open and the entire American Masters 1000.
The 21-time Grand Slam champion will begin his 2023 playing the ATP 250 in Adelaide, and then go on the hunt for his 10th AO label. If he were to arrive in double figures at Melbourne Park, Nole would hook his archrival Rafael Nadal in 22 Grand Slams.
The ‘Djoker’ managed to close 2022 in the Top 5 thanks to successes at Wimbledon and the ATP Finals in Turin. Goran Ivanisevic’s protégé aims to return to the top in 2023.
Rita Panahi defends Djokovic
Over time, tongues loosened and it’s almost unsettling to see how the Australian media treated the return of Novak Djokovic when a year ago it was a veritable manhunt that had been staged.
As Rita Panahi explains, twelve months later, everything has changed and it is time to take stock of what happened. “It was so strange that instead of resenting the government and the excessive restrictions placed on him, the anger was wrongly directed at Novak,” explained the Sky Sports presenter who had taken part in mass hysteria, a form of confession in certain way.
Holger Rune has distanced himself from the GOAT debate between Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. “I don’t think anything of it, to be honest. I hate the GOAT discussion because who has won the most titles, who has won the most Grand Slams, who was No.
1 for longer. I mean, all these guys are amazing. They have achieved something that is historic. It also pushes the younger generation to what is possible,» said Holger Rune. «Records are there to be broken.
And now these guys made us work even harder to break records. That’s good for the future of tennis. The level will increase further. I think players like Federer, Novak, Nadal and Murray showed us the very high level of tennis and that’s what makes the younger generation so good today. I hope we can continue like this in tennis, raising the level even more. I think it is possible,” he added.