US colleague Ben Rothenberg said it won't be that easy for Novak Djokovic to return to top levels in 2023. He told: "As things stand, I would say that Carlos Alcaraz has a better chance than Novak Djokovic of winning the Australian Open 2023.
Nole has played very little this year and has inevitably lost the pace of the match. We have clearly noticed this in recent months. After missing the Australian Open and the American Masters 1000, he struggled more than expected to find the right automatisms.
I think he will try to play as much as possible in this season finale. However, it will not be easy for him to regain the confidence he had before. First, he is not yet legally allowed to enter Australia. He will probably be able to play, but it is not known when the decision will come.
Secondly, it will be necessary to see if he will still have the same feeling with the Australian Open after everything that happened in early 2022. The mental aspect has always been very important for Novak."
Novak Djokovic had ups and downs in 2023
Despite his victory at Wimbledon, 2022 was not an easy year for Novak Djokovic.
The former world number 1 paid dearly for his choice not to get vaccinated against the Coronavirus, as was to be expected. The Serbian phenomenon had to give up the Australian Open and the US Open, two events in which he would have been the big favorite for the final victory.
For the same reason, the 35-year-old from Belgrade also missed all the American Masters 1000 (Indian Wells, Miami, Montreal and Cincinnati). After the disappointment he suffered at Roland Garros, Nole redeemed himself at Wimbledon by equaling Pete Sampras' seven triumphs.
By beating Nick Kyrgios in the final, the 'Djoker' grabbed his 21st Grand Slam and narrowed the gap that separates him from Rafael Nadal in the all-time standings. In fact, the Spaniard was unable to extend at the US Open, stopping already in the second round in front of a wild Frances Tiafoe.