Djokovic row: Andrew Allison defends him, saying its his 'choice'
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John McEnroe admits he’s “glad” to see Novak Djokovic back on the tennis court following his Australian Open debacle. And the seven-time Grand Slam champion has also fired a warning to Rafael Nadal following his title-winning endeavours Down Under.
Djokovic was the overwhelming favourite to win the opening major of the year after tasting success nine times in Melbourne throughout his illustrious career.
The Serbian had previously won three consecutive editions of the tournament and was in fine form throughout the 2021 season as he tasted glory at three of the four Grand Slams.
Djokovic was originally granted a medical exemption to play at the tournament, despite the fact he isn’t vaccinated against COVID-19.
But following his arrival in the country, he was apprehended by Australia Broder Force, who deemed the exemption to be invalid and told him he would be deported.
The 34-year-old was sent to a state-run immigration facility and initially won an appeal to stay in the country.
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But Australia’s immigration minister Alex Hawke personally revoked the player’s visa and Djokovic was unsuccessful in getting that decision overturned after a second appeal.
Djokovic’s nonappearance at the Australian Open means he is yet to play a match in 2022.
But that will change on Monday when he goes head-to-head with Lorenzo Musetti in Dubai.
And McEnroe is hoping to see a lot more of the superstar in the upcoming months.
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“I’m glad Novak’s here playing again,” said McEnroe, who won Wimbledon three times and the US Open on four occasions.
“It’s just hopefully things will be straightened out so that he can do his thing and we’ll see. It’s hard to tell.”
Nadal took advantage of Djokovic’s absence in Australia as rolled back the years to win the title.
The 35-year-old, who had failed to reach the final in any of the five previous majors, was unsure whether he would even be able to compete in Melbourne due to a foot injury.
But after overcoming the issue, he battled back from a two-set disadvantage in the final to defeat Daniil Medvedev after an enthralling encounter at the Rod Laver Arena.
Nadal may have got the better of the 26-year-old on that occasion, but McEnroe has warned the Spaniard that younger players in the sport could soon rule supreme.
“Obviously Rafa pulled off an amazing feat,” continued McEnroe. “And I also like Medvedev – I thought he should have won it.
“We’ll see how he reacts moving forward and what other guys are going to step up.
“You know, at that time, these other guys have been winning everything. So you would think these young guys are getting hungry – they want to win something.”
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