“I Could Not Have Received Better News”
By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Wednesday, November 16, 2022
Novak Djokovic saw his Australian Open hopes go down the drain in 2022 when he was deported from the country before ever taking the court. After a harrowing week in Melbourne in which he was forced to stay in a detention center as he waited for him time in court, Djokovic flew back home without having a chance to defend his 2021 title.
It was a bizarre, bitter controversy that set the tone for a difficult year for Djokovic.
His decision to remain unvaccinated caused him to miss several more tournaments, including Indian Wells, Miami, Toronto, Cincinnati and the US Open, but nothing hit him quite as hard as the situation in Melbourne, where he was granted an exemption to enter the country before having it revoked as he was thrust into one of the biggest sporting controversies of the year.
After hearing news that his Australian visa will be approved in 2023, Djokovic is ready to start a new campaign with enthusiasm – and hope. The 21-time major champion spoke of the importance of having that clarity on Wednesday in Turin, as he met with reporters after his 6-4, 6-1 victory over Andrey Rublev at the ATP Finals.
Djokovic – I could not have received better news
“Of course, I was very happy to receive the news yesterday,” the nine-time Aussie Open champion said. “It was a relief obviously knowing what I and people closest to me in my life have been through this year with what happened in Australia and post Australia obviously. I could not have received better news for sure – during this tournament as well.”
The 35-year-old, who still managed to take home the Wimbledon title during his tumultuous 2022 season, improved to 39-7 in 2022 with his win over Rublev. He says the news reflected positively in his game on Wednesday.
“I was very happy to receive the news yesterday. It was a relief obviously knowing what I and people closest to me in my life have been through this year with what happened in Australia and post Australia obviously. I could not receive better news for sure.”
Novak on Australia
— TennisNow (@Tennis_Now) November 16, 2022
“Did it affect my game today? I would like to believe it did,” he said. “Why not?”
More likely is the fact that Djokovic has been able to find a rhythm since the US Open, playing regularly and being a part of the tour. He was unable to do that through September, especially with so many events being played in North America where Covid policies didn’t allow him to enter the country.
But a little clarity – and some positive news – can’t hurt for the man who has won the last 21 matches he has played at the Australian Open.
“I don’t think it did affect me too much because I’m familiar with what I need to do in order to prepare myself for every match,” he said. “Of course, knowing that I have clarity now, what I do in the off-season, starting the season in Australia, also of course did relieve some of the pressure me and my team felt. Just giving that clarity makes it great for us.
Djokovic is 82-8 lifetime at the Australian Open with nine titles in Melbourne. He’s happy he’ll have a chance to go back and establish himself as the player to beat on the ATP Tour in 2022.
“Australian Open has been my most successful Grand Slam,” he said. “I made some of the best memories there. Of course, I want to go back there, I want to play tennis, do what I do best, hopefully have a great Australian summer.”