To allow all players to carry out the mandatory two-week quarantine, the 2021 Australian Open has been moved to February. The unprecedented conditions could play a fundamental role in the Happy Slam economy, although Novak Djokovic will start with the odds given his history at Melbourne Park.
The number 1 in the world has dominated the first Slam of the season like no other in the last ten years, winning eight titles in the last 13 editions. The 33-year-old Serbian won his 17th career major at the Australian Open last year, after recovering Dominic Thiem in a thrilling final.
Thanks to the new ranking system introduced to face the consequences of the pandemic, Nole has an excellent chance of breaking the all-time record of weeks at the top of the ranking. In the course of a recent interview with the Portuguese site 'Bolamarela', former WTA star Justine Henin explained that Djokovic will be even more determined in this early 2021.
After the jokes he has remedied in the last two Grand Slams, the Belgrade veteran will try to demonstrate to still be number one.
Henin on Novak Djokovic
"The men's draw is easier to predict and has a more obvious favorite: Novak Djokovic," Justine Henin stated.
"The Australian Open is made for Novak Djokovic. The situation this year is different, but after what happened at the US Open and Roland Garros, Novak Djokovic will want to show again that he is the boss." The Belgian also picked a few players who she believes will be challengers to Novak Djokovic's throne in Melbourne.
"We always have to rely on Rafael Nadal, on Dominic Thiem, who is now a Grand Slam champion, and I also like Daniil Medvedev a lot," Henin added. Justine Henin, a seven-time Grand Slam champion, claimed that it is difficult to pick a favorite in the women's draw given the unusual build-up to the year's first Major.
"It is very difficult to choose a favorite in women's tennis, especially in light of the current situation," Henin said. "I would like to see more consistency at the top of women's tennis. I am optimistic, but the situation we are experiencing today is unique.
Everything that is happening in Australia, not all are in the same conditions. I hope that we see good tennis and that the players are strong mentally." Henin then went on to talk about her former rival Serena Williams: "She is a different player and a different person," Henin said.
"She is now a mother and that changes a lot. Since she became a mother, we must admit that she has remained consistent. She didn't win a Grand Slam but reached four finals, last year she reached the US Open semi-finals.
It's incredible. Not everyone can say that. I don't know if the 'fire' she has inside her remains the same, because the priorities have changed. Winning is perhaps no longer the most important thing in her life."