Former doubles world No. 1 Mahesh Bhupathi acknowledged that Novak Djokovic is not in an easy position in the Grand Slam race but underlined that the Serb can never be ruled out. Djokovic won the first three Grand Slams of the 2021 season but then failed to beat Daniil Medvedev in the US Open final and clinch a record 21st Grand Slam title.
Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer finished the 2021 season tied with 20 Grand Slams each. At the Australian Open, Djokovic wasn't allowed to compete because of his vaccination status, while Federer skipped the event because he was recovering from a knee surgery.
Nadal took the advantage of Djokovic not being allowed to compete at Melbourne Park and won a record 21st Grand Slam title. This past French Open, Nadal defeated Djokovic in the French Open quarterfinal and went on to win a record 22nd Grand Slam title.
Bhupathi: Djokovic in a difficult spot but can't be ruled out
"The pressure got to him of winning the career Grand Slam at the US Open and he was definitely far from his best. As far as the match against Nadal, that was defintely the best match at French Open.
Nadal just found a way to close the match out. I wouldn't discount Novak, he is probably the mentally toughest player we have seen in this generation but having said that he has got his work cut out for him," Bhupathi told WION News.
"He has got a lot of adversities to deal with from not taking the vaccine. We don't even know if he will be allowed into Australia for the next three years. US Open is still a question mark if they are going to allow him to play.
Wimbledon is a must-win for him to keep the title race close." Djokovic is expected to compete at Wimbledon, while Nadal's participation is in doubt. Djokovic has won the past three Wimbledon editions and he will be the top favorite to win it all once again at The Championships this year.