Four Serbian tennis players took to the court on Day 1 of the Australian Open, one of whom would face Novak Djokovic in his debut. This is Miomir Kecmanovic, who had no problems and imposed a harsh lesson on Salvatore Caruso, who had pleasantly defined himself as “the most famous lucky loser in history”.
Kecmanovic wanted in some way to dedicate the success obtained against the blue to Djokovic, whose visa was definitively canceled by the Australian Federal Court last Sunday. "Everything that happened to Novak in the last few days certainly affected all of us Serbs," Kecmanovic told a news conference.
“It is clear that I am disappointed with the decision of the Australian authorities. I think that tennis has lost a lot with this event in Australia, because not having the best tennis player in the world is a defeat for the sport, for the spectators and for all of us.
Regardless of whether Novak is the best player in the world, the nine-time champion here and the draw was not in my favor... I really wanted to face him at the Australian Open. Unfortunately, that dream did not come true. We told ourselves (he means the other Serbian tennis players, ed) that we should give everything we have in this tournament, try to avenge Djokovic in some way and make him proud." Dusan Lajovic, who defeated Marton Fucsovics in the fifth set, also dedicated a message to Djokovic and posed with his flag on the court at the end of the match.
Wilander comments on Novak Djokovic
Former World No. 1 Mats Wilander recently gave his thoughts on the court verdict confirming Novak Djokovic's deportation on Sunday. The Serb won't defend his Australian Open title in Melbourne this year, and it remains to be seen whether he can play the other Slams given that he is not vaccinated.
"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 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." 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.