‘Novak Djokovic finished 2022 as…’, says legend


Novak Djokovic recently landed in Australia, almost a year after the bad soap opera that led to his expulsion from the country. The Serbian phenomenon paid dearly for his choice not to get vaccinated against the Coronavirus, having had to give up two Grand Slams (Australian Open and US Open) and all the American Masters 1000. It took longer than expected to review the best version of Nole, who failed to go beyond the quarterfinals at Roland Garros. The former world No. 1 lifted his season by winning his seventh Wimbledon title, which allowed him to equal his idol Pete Sampras. The 35-year-old from Belgrade thus hoisted himself to 21 Grand Slams, just one length behind Rafael Nadal in the all-time rankings. The ‘Djoker’ will try to hook up already at the 2023 Australian Open, which will start on January 16 at Melbourne Park. His return to Australia was very well received by former AO manager Paul McNamee.

McNamee defends Nole Djokovic

“Good to see Novak Djokovic back on court in Australia. After all, he finished 2022 as the best player on the planet, arguably the most complete athlete in the world and, as a person, with a holistic approach and generosity of spirit which is often overlooked. Welcome back Novak,” Paul McNamee wrote on his social media. “I’m hoping he can get it. For me, he’s a person of principle. Not everyone agrees with what his position is, but he stands by his word and missed two grand slams this year. That’s a lot to miss when you’re one off winning the most Grand Slams, so I respect it and I hope he is well received,” he said. “I think winning 10 has a special ring to it. The only other man who’s won 10 [at a Grand Slam event] is Rafa at the French, so I think he’ll be going hard to get a 10th Australian Open, especially after last year,” McNamee said. Daniil Medvedev could face off against 21-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic before the 2023 Australian Open: “I don’t know. I like to play Novak because yeah, I feel like we have a lot of matches. We had some really great matches with a great level of tennis. At the same time, what motivates me is to be in the semis, and if it’s Novak there, it’s great. If it’s somebody else who beats him, I don’t care much; that’s also great. It means that somebody is in great shape, and managed to probably beat the best player in the world right now,” said the Russian.

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