20-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic admitted that a challenging start to the 2022 season took a toll on his mental health. In early January, Djokovic took to Instagram to announce he was granted a medical exemption into the Australian Open.
Just when it seemed Djokovic was a lock to play the Australian Open, a whole drama occured. After landing in Australia, Djokovic's visa was cancelled and he was placed in detention. After appealing, Djokovic got his visa back but after a few days Immigration Minister Alex Hawke exercised his powers to again cancel the visa of Djokovic.
Djokovic appealed again but this lost his case and he was deported from Australia. Then in early March, Djokovic was denied entry into the United States for the Masters events in Indian Wells and Miami. It was far from a perfect start to the year for Djokovic and he is still feeling the affects of it.
Djokovic: I never went through anything similar to this
“The challenge is definitely more on the mental and emotional side,” Djokovic said, as quoted on Tennishead. “Of course, I have never experienced anything similar to what I experienced early this season and I did not know how that’s going to affect me.
It obviously still – you know, I still have to deal with it to some extent. It’s not as powerful that it was in the first two, three months of the year. “I feel like the more I play, the more I’m in this environment, the more comfortable I feel”.
Meanwhile, Djokovic is preparing to kick off his Madrid campaign. Djokovic, seeded at No. 1, had a first round bye in Madrid. After a first round bye, Djokovic plays Gael Monfils in the second round. Djokovic and Monfils are well-known to each other as Djokovic leads their head-to-head 17-0. It remains to be seen if Djokovic can continue his winning streak versus Monfils.