Novak Djokovic ended last season in an unprecedented number of appearances by winning the ATP Finals for the sixth time. But instead of talking about his expectations for 2023, he lamented the way 2022 began.
He was not able to compete at the Australian Open, a country that had deported him for not being vaccinated against COVID-19.
That whole episode and the need to enter several more countries after his refusal to receive injections defined his season and for some his legacy. So, in reflecting on his season-ending victory in Italy, Djokovic looked back at what happened in Australia.
“It feels great satisfaction and at the same time, a great relief, given the circumstances I’ve been through this year, the circumstances at the start, of course, in Australia … It’s clear that it had an effect on my start of the year But ”, expressed the 35-year-old Serbian tennis player that day in November.
“For the first time in many months I tried to find that balance, thinking about the matches but also thinking about the mindset of getting back on court and finding the level of tennis that I need.”
The new edition of the first Grand Slam of the season is starting from Monday (Sunday night in the American continent). And Djokovic will return despite never having been vaccinated against the coronavirus thanks to the government’s decision to roll back inoculation requirements for visitors and a three-year ban on the Serb’s return following the revocation of your visa .
Now, he will return to a tournament he dominated like no other. They have won nine of their 21 major trophies there, including the last three they have played.
Once again, he will be in a position that will allow him to rub shoulders with the elite and challenge his great adversary, Spaniard Rafael Nadal, for supremacy in winning Grand Slam titles.
Nadal is the defending champion and record holder in the men’s field with 22 major trophies. But it is Djokovic who garners most of the attention and will be considered the favourite.
This would have happened even if he had not started his preparations by winning the trophy in Adelaide.
In the run-up to this Australian Open, talk has turned to who won’t be.
Serena Williams and Roger Federer end their careers in 2022, like Ash Barty. Carlos Alcaraz, first in the rankings, and Venus Williams, a seven-time major queen, are injured. Four-time Major Event champion Nomi Osaka announced her pregnancy on Thursday. Simona Halep, once ranked first, serves a provisional suspension for doping.
Once the match started, the conversation would focus on Djokovic and his comeback, which Nadal himself considered “good for tennis”.