'I give Novak Djokovic a lot of credit for...', says former No.1
by SIMONE BRUGNOLI | VIEW 7029
Novak Djokovic was expelled from Australia on Sunday following the verdict passed by the Federal Court. Although he won his first appeal, the world's number 1 had his visa canceled for the second time by Immigration Minister Alex Hawke.
For the Serbian it is a bitter disappointment, which prevents him from chasing his tenth title at the Australian Open. The 34-year-old from Belgrade has won the Happy Slam nine times, in addition to having won in the last three editions.
In the event of a triumph at Melbourne Park, Nole would also have surpassed Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the all-time rankings of the Majors. With the Swiss in the pits due to injury, the Majorcan is the only one of the Big 3 who can increase his showcase by winning the AOs.
Rafa's only success 'Down Under' dates back to 2009, without forgetting the difficulties the Spaniard has had to deal with in recent months. Speaking to Eurosport, Mats Wilander said the decision to stop Djokovic from playing the Australian Open could have a major impact on men's tennis history.
Wilander on Novak Djokovic
"The judge has to realise that maybe he is changing the history of our sport – but what can you do?" Wilander told Eurosport. "I cannot imagine the state of mind Novak Djokovic must be in right now plus it’s by far his most favorite tournament – one he has won nine times – he’s chasing 21 Grand Slams and this was his big chance to go ahead of Roger and Rafa.
To me, now there is a good chance all three will end up on 20 Grand Slams, which will be amazing," he added. Hawke's decision was later upheld by a Federal Court, but Wilander stated in his interview that he was "shocked" by the final verdict.
The Swede also claimed he was exhausted by the whole saga, before expressing sympathy for the rest of the players in the field. "I'm surprised and I’m shocked," Wilander said. "I'm a little bit exhausted as well because we have been hearing about this for a week.
I give Novak a lot of credit for trying but at the same time he knew there might be the possibility that with the rules you have to be vaccinated. But you also have to think about the other players – they have been asked about this for the whole time they have been in Australia.
But the big thing for me, the best tennis players in the world, they are globally famous people and this has really been one of the biggest stories this year," Wilander added.