It is not yet known whether Novak Djokovic will be allowed to participate in Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open this year, because he was not vaccinated against COVID, which took him away from the opportunity to defend the title in Melbourne.
His involuntary absence from the Australian Open was used by Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard won the 21st Grand Slam title, so many already consider him unattainable for the Serbian and Roger Federer (20 Grand Slam cups each) in the eternal race for the best in the history of tennis when it comes to the most valuable trophies.
However, Richard Krajicek, the 1996 Wimbledon champion and now the director of the Rotterdam tournament sees another winner in that race. He is convinced that Djokovic, although he lags behind Nadal, still has an advantage, a psychological one.
As he said, every negativity shown to him by the fans of other tennis players is actually a great inspiration for Novak. "Federer's fans are one of the reasons why Novak is so successful. They cheered so much for Roger and thought they were helping him, but they were actually helping Novak win," Krajicek said.
There is no doubt that the deportation from Australia was difficult for Djokovic. "It will be interesting to see what happens in Dubai (which will be Novak's first tournament in 2022). You would usually say that this will motivate him and you don't want to play against him because he is more deadly then."
"But events in Australia are different. He's used to fighting on the field with the audience, his opponent, and sometimes himself, but this is a completely different pressure and a different kind of disappointment than when you have an audience against you or lose a match at Wimbledon, then come back and win."
" You know what, Novak is one of the strongest guys I've ever seen in sports and maybe that will motivate him even more. It's hard to know how he will respond. "
The Dutchman believes that the rules that were not clarified before the Serb landed in Melbourne are to blame for Djokovic's non-entry into Australia.
"There was a misunderstanding between Novak, the Tennis Association of Australia, and the governments there. If he had thought he could not enter the country, he would not have traveled there." "It was not nice for Novak, nor for the tournament in particular, but in the end it was the great Australian Open. I am happy for the tennis fans who were able to watch great matches and the tournament, "Krajcek added.