Hopes Novak Djokovic to win your tenth Australian Open The historic record of 21 grand slams was shattered on Thursday when his visa was revoked upon arrival in Melbourne. But his absence is also affecting the first major tournament of the season.
World number one Novak Djokovic was chasing his 10th title in Melbourne, winning a record 21 Grand Slam title. The 34-year-old Serbian has won the Australian Open in 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2019, 2020, and 2021.
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But renewing the title was derailed at night at Melbourne Airport, where he was denied entry to Australia and his visa revoked.
The Serbian player had arrived on Wednesday evening after celebrating on social media that he had obtained a medical exemption from participating in the tournament without showing that he had received a vaccination against Covid-19.
The exception, approved by two independent medical committees, has left many Australians grappling with strict restrictions and two-year closures.
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Djokovic’s absence could benefit Rafael Nadal
Without Djokovic, sports romantics can dream of being Spaniards Rif Nadal who was crowned for the second time in Australia and stands as the best Grand Slam winner in men’s tennis history. The 35-year-old Balearic is linked to Djokovic and Roger Federer of Switzerland.
Nadal arrived in Australia after missing months from the Covid-19 virus at the end of the year and a foot injury that left him out of Wimbledon and the US Open.
Six-times champion Roger Federer will miss the tournament to recover from a knee injury in his forties.
Available options for a new hero
Since Russia’s Marat Safin won in Melbourne in 2005, the “Three Musketeers” have controlled almost exclusively the record set in the first major tournament of the year: Djokovic, Federer and Nadal. Only Swiss Stan Wawrinka, who was also injured in this edition, was able to break this dominance by defeating the Spanish tennis player in the 2014 final.
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Without Djokovic and with months not knowing how Nadal will return, the stage may be set for a new king to be crowned in Melbourne. It might be Russia’s Daniil Medvedev, who lost the 2021 final to Djokovic and won the US Open in 2021. If not, Germany’s Alexander Zverev and Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas are also aspiring to lift the first major slams of their careers.