Among the revelations of tennis 2021 it is difficult not to mention Carlos Alcaraz. The young Spanish tennis player, after passing the qualifiers, played and won his first match in a Grand Slam tournament against Botic van de Zandschulp at the Australian Open.
Before repeating the same result at Roland Garros, Alcaraz pushed himself to the semifinals in Marbella. The 18-year-old didn't shine on the grass, but he definitely found a way to redeem himself on American hard court when he beat Stefanos Tsitsipas and reached the quarter-finals at the US Open.
In the last part of the season, Alcaraz finally won the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan without too many problems and only the positivity at Covid-19 prevented him from representing Spain in the Davis Cup; Spain who then left the historic team event before the quarter-finals due to the decisive defeat against Russia.
Alcaraz grew up watching the games of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal; and it was impossible for him not to get carried away by their rivalries. In the last episode of Player's Voice, the Eurosport series, the Spaniard talked about the Big 3.
"Nadal, Federer and Djokovic are great athletes and great people. When Djokovic said that what I had achieved was incredible, I was left without words. After I sent him a message to thank him for his words," explained Alcaraz recalling the nice words the Serbian said towards him at the end of the season.
"Federer? I am a bit similar to him for the dynamism on the pitch; for aggressive play, often at net and in drops. He can do anything at any time and it's something I feel I can do too. The first time I met Nadal was at the Rafa Nadal Tour, during an awards ceremony and I was unable to speak to him.
I was thrilled. But then, the first time I really talked to him, I saw that he was a good guy and it was very nice to confront each other. He is nice and humble."
Novak Djokovic's special rule for the Australian Open 2022?
Will Novak Djokovic be regularly present at the Australian Open? Or, due to his opposition to the anti-Covid administration, will he give up the first Grand Slam of the 2022 season? Questions that have not known a certain answer for several weeks.
The almost surreal case continues in uncertainty and with the reshuffling of the cards on the table. It is not yet clear to the whole world of tennis whether the Serbian will participate in the ocean tour or forfeit: a situation that continues to leave perplexity given that the rumors often launched by the Serbian press or by sources close to the player are somehow denied by those.
Australian. The only certain facts are that the 34-year-old is stepping up training in his Belgrade and that his hypothetical departure, should he be there, will be in the next few days. However, the rules for playing the first tournaments of the 2022 season are quite clear and very strict: vaccination of at least two doses or the favorable opinion of two external commissions is required, proving that they do not represent a danger and providing a valid reason as to why not the serum was received.
Nole did not disclose his vaccination status (although it seems unlikely that he will join the campaign, at this point), further complicating the affair. Following the regulations strictly to the letter, it would seem unlikely that the world number one will participate in the Australian Open.
According to what has been collected and written by Blic, the organizers are negotiating with the Victorian authorities a break from the rule to allow Djokovic and other players in his same situation to take part in the competition.
A sort of special legislation, a medical exemption that would solve the problem, canceling practically everything that had been established and strongly remarked in recent days by politicians, members who contribute to the realization of the event in Melbourne.
For the event it would obviously be a bad tile not to be able to count on the title holder, as well as current number one in the ATP ranking. The next few hours and days will (hopefully) be decisive to end the saga once and for all.