Novak Djokovic has been tipped to triumph at the 2023 Australian Open following the explosive visa saga that scuppered his bid this year.
In what proved a volatile episode, the Serbian star was initially granted a medical exemption to compete in Melbourne, despite not being vaccinated against Covid. However, he was detained upon his arrival down under, and a bitter legal battle ensued with Djokovic eventually deported home just a day before the tournament began.
The 21-time Grand Slam winner has since refused to alter his defiant stance on Covid though, and also missed the US Open over his reluctance to be jabbed. But having initially been handed a three-year ban from trying to visit Australia, a climbdown from the immigration authorities means he will now compete in the first Slam of 2023.
“I think winning 10 has a special ring to it. The only other man who’s won 10 [at a Grand Slam event] is Rafa [Nadal] at the French, so I think he’ll be going hard to get a 10th Australian Open, especially after last year I’m hoping he can get it.
“For me, he’s a person of principle. Not everyone agrees with what his position is, but he stands by his word and missed two Grand Slams this year. That’s a lot to miss when you’re one off winning the most Grand Slams, so I respect it and I hope he is well received.”
In the absence of Djokovic, it was Rafa Nadal who prevailed this year, coming back from two sets down to beat Daniil Medvedev in a thrilling final. That also saw him become the first player in history to reach 21 Slam wins, a number he increased by also winning at the French Open.
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