Novak Djokovic is finally not allowed to compete at the Australian Open – that’s a good thing! At the end of an incredible farce, one thing is important to remember: the Australian Open does not need Novak Djokovic at all. A comment.
At the moment, it should not be about the egoist Novak Djokovic, who has impressively shown who Novak Djokovic is with his behavior in recent weeks. And who could have avoided everything, absolutely everything, just by being vaccinated like 97 percent of his colleagues on the trip. Nor should it be about the Australian Tennis Federation or the Australian Government, which throughout the theater all looked bad and all are losers.
It should be about the wrong assumption that the Australian Open absolutely needs Novak Djokovic. Number one in the world. The man who has already won 9 times in Melbourne and is chasing his 21st Grand Slam title. The record for eternity. Without him, the tournament would be missing so much, which is why tournament director Craig Tiley has probably tried everything to build bridges between Djokovic. It’s not true. The Australian Open does not need Novak Djokovic because there are endless fascinating stories even without the Serb.
Some examples? From a German point of view, the main question, of course, is whether Alexander Zverev can confirm his impressive form from the final phase of the season in 2021 and win his long-awaited first Grand Slam title. Zverev’s appearances at the ATP Cup at the beginning of the year were okay, but still drew a very vague picture of whether the 24-year-old is really ready for the great triumph.
Even Nadal’s comeback is completely overshadowed
Daniil Medvedev could stand in the way of Zverev and with another Grand Slam success in a row become clearly the best player of his generation, at least for the moment.
Or will 2022 really be the time when we will see many different Grand Slam champions in men’s tennis? Do not forget: Since 2006, there have only been 9 (!) Different Grand Slam champions for men – with 63 options.
Maybe 2022 will be the year where Stefanos Tsitsipas can take the final step. Or Matteo Berrettini. Or Jannik Sinner, for whom it will no doubt only be a matter of time. Or Felix Auger-Aliassime or Denis Shapovalov – the two Canadians cut a formidable figure in their ATP Cup success.
It spoke, and almost no one talks about it, because the Djokovic case unfortunately overshadows everything. So superimposed that even Rafael Nadal can come back impressively after an injury break with a tournament win (No. 89!) And somehow it remained almost hidden.
Has everyone seen how incredibly burning Rafa was again? Of course, there is still a lot missing in terms of play, but you get goosebumps when you see how Nadal loves it every second to be back on the field and to be able to work hard like Rafa.
Long live serve and volleyball tennis!
Incidentally, his last opponent at the preparatory tournament in Melbourne was a certain Maxime Cressy. A 24-year-old American boy, born in Paris, who is about to break through – and that’s in serve and volleyball tennis! All traditionalists among tennis fans must love this boy and in fact should not pass a match from him in Melbourne. Cressy wants to make serve-and-volley tennis big again – it’s a story from the Australian Open too.
We have not even talked about Sir Andy Murray’s impressive comeback in Melbourne. Does Murray have another deep run in a Grand Slam? There are some indications. What about Spain’s rising star Carlos Alcaraz? How fast will he become a title contender at the Grand Slams?
And are we perhaps witnessing the renaissance of Gael Monfil? The 35-year-old played so excellently in his tournament victory in Adelaide that one suddenly has to look very closely again at where the rubber man ends up in the draw. Nobody wants to play against Monfils at the moment, that’s for sure.
One could also philosophize about the many stories that the tournament of course also offers for women (watch out for Amanda Anisimova or Madison Keys!).
Let’s celebrate The Chef!
But the point should also be so clear: let’s forget the unspeakable fuss about Novak Djokovic and dedicate ourselves to the players who really deserve it.
Djokovic should have played in the night session at the start of the tournament on Monday. And even though a small part of you think that you would like to see the Australians “receive” you, the alternative is much better.
The Australians do not need a Djokovic match, they will primarily cheer on Thanasi Kokkinakis on Monday. Who is it? A 25-year-old Australian blessed with talent for three lives, but sadly injured half of his life. Now “The Chef” has made a fascinating comeback and won his first title on the tour at the preparatory tournament in Adelaide – his hometown. It does not get more emotional than that.
And now this Thanasi Kokkinakis plays on Monday night against the German qualifier Yannick Hanfmann. This livestream will be so incredibly much more enjoyable than the next livestream of a court hearing or a particular family’s quirky “press conference” in Belgrade. Lovet!