These first months of 2022 have been terrible for Novak Djokovic. Due to his choice not to get vaccinated against Coronavirus, the world number 1 was unable to defend the title at the Australian Open. In addition to suffering serious damage to his image, the Serbian phenomenon had to watch helplessly as his eternal rival Rafael Nadal triumphed at Melbourne Park.
The Spaniard has thus overtaken Roger Federer and Djokovic himself in the all-time ranking of the Majors, becoming the fourth man in history to have won all the Slams at least twice. Nole made his seasonal debut in Dubai, but his run was interrupted already in the quarterfinals at the hands of a wild Jiri Vesely.
Strict US regulations forced him to miss the Indian Wells and Miami Masters 1000s as well. The 34-year-old from Belgrade returned to the red clay of Monte Carlo, where he was defeated in the second round by Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.
Speaking to Eurosport, Justine Henin analyzed in detail the moment that she is going through Djokovic.
Henin on Novak Djokovic
"We can't under-estimate the emotional roller-coaster Novak Djokovic has been on," Henin told Eurosport France's 'DiP Impact' podcast.
"Not just the Australian Open and not just all the effort he made to try and win his 21st Grand Slam at the 2021 US Open either. But you can also go back to the US Open in 2020 when he was disqualified. From there, he then had the tough [final] defeat [to Rafa Nadal] at Roland Garros.
Then he had the abdominal injury and his somewhat miraculous win at the Australian Open in 2021." Henin firmly believes that this chain of events would have left a scar on the World No. 1's mind regardless of his immense mental strength.
"You've got to imagine what all that must have been like. Even if your name is Novak Djokovic, you're still a human being," Henin said. "He can't have gone through all that calmly. I'm not saying all this is going to have an impact on the rest of his career, but he's got to digest and recover from all of that," she continued.
"And these are factors that have got to be taken into account when we talk about him now." Novak Djokovic is certainly short of match practice this season. His lack of match fitness was clearly evident in his three-set loss against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina at the recently concluded Monte Carlo Masters. After missing the Australian Open, he hardly played any tournament over the past few months.