Djokovic, Djokovic, Djokovic. The Australian Open actually already know their winner in the men’s category – assuming that “Nole’s” thigh problems are dealt with in time before the “Happy Slam” begins. But if everything fits, it almost seems as if the Serb could already think about where he would like to pose for the photographers with the winner’s trophy.
And indeed: a lot speaks for the 21-time Grand Slam champion. First of all, there is the way he said goodbye to the 2022 season. As the ATP World Champion in Turin, he only had to show his best tennis at certain times, and that was enough to take home the unofficial title of World Champion in Turin for the sixth time.
His tournament victory in Adelaide in preparation for the Australian Open also gives little hope for the competition. There he was able to show that, despite a few forced breaks in 2022, he still masters every game situation. Gala performances like against Daniil Medvedev as well as tricky tasks in which he has to overcome some resistance. Seen in the final against Sebastian Korda, in which he was even able to fend off a match point.
What also speaks for Djokovic: Nobody else who seems able to win the Australian Open 2023 is pushing himself. A battered Rafael Nadal just as little as an inconstant Daniil Medvedev.
A look at the Serb’s successful career shows that it will not be a matter of course for Djokovic. The now 35-year-old has not performed at his best several times when he went into important tournaments as the overplayer. When the moment got bigger than the actual match. When sporting immortality came knocking.
His hesitation was most evident in the US Open final against Medvedev in 2021. Back then, the Serb played an outstanding season and traveled to New York with three Grand Slam titles. The annual Grand Slam seemed certain to him. So sure that the feelings inhibited him. In the final he seemed blocked and had nothing to oppose the clever game of his opponent. Even during the match, the Serb cried when he realized that I will not write any sports history today. Immortality will have to wait.
He seemed just as desperate a few months earlier when he had no chance against Alexander Zverev in the semifinals of the Olympic Games and the German robbed him of the extremely rare chance of the Golden Slam. In Tokyo, Djokovic’s disappointment erupted in aggression. And that was already in the earlier laps, when the “Djoker” had to realize: I’m not in top form here!
Back to Australia in 2023: Just like 2021 at the US Open and the Olympic Games, all eyes will be on Novak Djokovic at the first Grand Slam tournament of the year. And the eyes of the world public, not just the eyes of the tennis community. His deportation from Australia last year was too spectacular and controversial. His fans will make every match an emotional revenge for the “wrong” of last year.
Can Novak Djokovic live up to these expectations? If it were just about playing tennis: definitely. But for Novak Djokovic, the Australian Open 2023 is about much more – for him it’s about sporting immortality. again. And that’s what makes the tournament so difficult for him.
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The original of this post “For top favorite Djokovic, the Australian Open is about much more than tennis” comes from tennisnet.com.