These first months of 2022 have given several twists. Novak Djokovic's choice not to get vaccinated against the COVID-19 has upset the cards on the table, having prevented the Serbian from defending the title at the Australian Open.
The 34-year-old from Belgrade, who had to leave the country amid a thousand controversies, witnessed the triumph of his eternal rival Rafael Nadal at Melbourne Park from home. The Spaniard has thus overtaken Roger Federer and Djokovic in the all-time rankings of the Majors.
Nole made his seasonal debut on the hard courts in Dubai, but failed to go beyond the quarter-finals (defeated in two sets by Jiri Vesely). Strict US regulations also forced Djokovic to skip the Masters 1000 in Indian Wells and Miami.
Novak's forced absence made it easier for Nadal, still unbeaten this year and capable of reaching the semifinal in Indian Wells. The Manacor player defeated Carlos Alcaraz in the most anticipated match of the entire week, but in the final the Spaniard was defeated by Taylor Fritz on by some physical problems.
Mouratoglou: "I knew Djokovic would destroy Nadal at AO 2019"
Guest in the latest edition of the The Joe Pump Show podcast, Patrick Mouratoglou recalled the 2019 Australian Open final between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal: "A few minutes after the match started, I remember feeling that Novak Djokovic would dominate.
I turned to a guy who was sitting next to me and told him that Nole was going to destroy Rafa that day. He will be able to confirm it. I have nothing against Nadal, who is an extraordinary champion and a legend of modern sport.
However, Djokovic was truly from another planet," said Mouratoglou. Patrick defended Novak from recent criticism: "Djokovic has often been accused of being inauthentic. It is said that he wants to be loved at all costs and that he doesn't show his true nature.
I think he is exactly the opposite. I believe that he is an extremely genuine and sincere person. He made a truly courageous choice on the Covid-19 vaccine. He could have cheated very easily, no one would ever have noticed."