2022 didn't start in the best way for Novak Djokovic. The world number 1 has played just three official matches this year, thanks to his choice not to get vaccinated against the Coronavirus. In addition to not having been able to defend the title at the Australian Open, the Serbian phenomenon also suffered serious damage to his image.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion had to watch helplessly as his eternal rival Rafael Nadal triumphs at Melbourne Park. The season debut of the 34-year-old from Belgrade took place in Dubai, where he was unable to go beyond the quarter-finals (beaten in two sets by a wild Jiri Vesely).
Strict US regulations prevented Nole from participating in the Indian Wells and Miami Masters 1000. Barring sudden changes, 'Djoker' will be back in action on the land of Monte Carlo. Novak should have no problem playing Roland Garros in May, as France has decided to abolish the vaccination pass a couple of weeks ago.
In the latest edition of the 'Match Point Canada' podcast, well-known coach Rob Steckley praised Djokovic's consistency.
Steckley on Novak Djokovic
"Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are incredible at being able to stay out on the road," Steckley began.
"I think they're at a different stage in their career or whatever, they want to accomplish different things." The Canadian explained that it takes a great deal of courage for Djokovic to stick to his principles, given that his actions always come under scrutiny due to his status in the sport.
"You have Djokovic who is sticking to his beliefs on you know against, what was it, not getting fully vaccinated? I'm definitely not statistically inclined so bear with me, but I do know that his beliefs are something that he believes in and that's what he stands by and it's crazy to think that somebody that's in his position is going to stick to his guns amongst everything that's happening against the world.
So he's basically going against it. I find that also incredibly admirable," Steckley added. The final Grand Slam tournament of the season has a long and glittering history of 140 years. There were some changes in the past, which impacted the tournament drastically.
It was first played on Grass, then moved on to the clay court for 3 seasons, and finally shifted to hardcourt in 1978. It also set an example by distributing equal prize money to both men’s and women’s singles winners. The highest paying Grand Slam was later followed by Wimbledon.