John McEnroe believes Novak Djokovic is determined to win the Australian Open and hopes the Serb rises to the occasion at Melbourne Park. Djokovic, who was denied entry at last year’s Australian Open, is the nine-time Melbourne Park champion.
If Djokovic had been allowed to play at Melbourne Park 12 months ago, he would have been in contention for a fourth straight Australian Open title. Now that Djokovic is back in Melbourne, McEnroe believes that he is once again the man to beat.
“In my opinion, he is the favourite. Obviously, he has to have a lot of emotions in his head, that’s for sure. It’s been one of the craziest years I’ve seen any athlete go through, let alone in our sport. So of course he wants to show that he still has it, and it seems to me and most of us that he still has it, so he wouldn’t be surprised,” McEnroe told Eurosport.
After the Australian visa debacle, Djokovic was clearly in shock, but still refused to speak negatively about the Australian Open and Melbourne. Before and after landing in Australia, Djokovic insisted there were no hard feelings towards Australia.
McEnroe thought it was “absurd” what happened to Djokovic 12 months ago and now says it’s good to see the Serb react this way. “It would be hard not to be angry. The fact that he seems to be in a good frame of mind is great and he has kind of forgiven the tournament or whoever, the Australian authorities, because it was absolutely outrageous when I think about what happened.”
Latest update on Djokovic
Novak Djokovic was asked in his last press conference about an interesting topic that is causing some debate in this 2023 Australian Open: the new Dunlop balls used.
The Serbian has no doubts: they are slower than in previous years. “The balls have changed this year. They are different: the more exchanges and more playing time, the ball gets bigger or hairier, and it is slower. I have seen that Popyrin has been in the game for four hours, that Ruud has played for three and a half hours.
I think we are going to see longer games this year, and one of the main reasons is probably the ball. I don’t think the speed of the court has changed much: the outside courts are quite fast, the stadiums a bit slower, but the ball is slower and that affects the game”.
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