Novak Djokovic has won five titles this year: Wimbledon, the Internazionali BNL of Italy, the ATP Finals, the ATP 250 in Tel Aviv and the ATP 500 in Astana. The Serbian phenomenon encountered several difficulties in 2022 due to his choice not to vaccinate against the Coronavirus, which made him miss the Australian Open and the US Open.
The former world number 1 also had to give up all the American Masters 1000, in addition to having suffered serious damage to his image. The Australian government has lifted the three-year ban on Nole's head, who will therefore be able to travel to Melbourne to compete in the Australian Open 2023.
The 35-year-old from Belgrade will hunt for his 10th 'Down Under' seal, so as to match the his eternal rival Rafael Nadal at 22 Grand Slams. Despite having slipped back in the ATP rankings, the 'Djoker' has proved that he is still the man to beat.
Speaking at Eurosport, Mats Wilander analyzed Djokovic's year in detail and reflected on his future prospects.
Djokovic is very fresh
"Novak Djokovic has been so close to being allowed to go to the Australian Open and so close to being allowed to go to the US Open, that it would have never affected his training blocks or his practice sessions.
And I think because he wasn't allowed to go, I think obviously physically it might be a tough thing for him to play five sets, seven matches, but he can deal with that. But emotionally, I feel like he's added another year or two to his career because he must probably be slightly upset about what happened.
But obviously Novak understands completely what it is that happened and there's nothing you can do about it. And is it right or wrong? It doesn't really matter.... So I think he's able to understand that. But I think that he looks so fresh, he looks so good.
I can't quite understand or believe that he did not win the tournament in Paris [Djokovic lost in the final to Holger Rune]. I was shocked that he didn't win that. But he played good enough and you can't win everything." Chris Oddo feels that Novak Djokovic's lack of match time in the 2022 season due to his coronavirus vaccine-related controversy will indeed help him start the 2023 season with fresher legs.
"I think his legs benefitted from this for the long term. I think he's going to be very fresh next year and ready to do even more damage... He's set up to have a crazy 2023," Oddo expressed.