A year after he faced an unceremonious exit from Australian soil, Novak Djokovic is set to compete in the first Grand Slam of the year Down Under with impressive form on his side.
The 35-year-old heads to Melbourne Park having won the Adelaide International – his 92nd career title – and is surely one of the strongest contenders to win the Major.
In 2022, Djokovic was forced to miss the Australian Open as he was deported from the country having not taken the Covid-19 vaccine. There were court hearings and a great deal of drama in relation to his visa and the entire episode left the Serb quite disturbed, as he went on to admit later.
However, 12 months on and Djokovic seems to be back to his best on court. The 21-time Grand Slam champion saved a match point before defeating USA’s Sebastian Korda in the Adelaide final and showed he is still close to his best both mentally and physically.
“It’s been an amazing week. To be standing here is a gift definitely,” said the current world No 5.
“I gave it my all today and throughout the week in order to be able to get my hands on this trophy. The support I have been getting in the last 10 days was something that I don’t think I’ve experienced too many times in my life. It definitely felt like playing at home.”
Now, Djokovic, who chased his great rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal throughout his career for the most number of men’s singles Grand Slam titles, is on the cusp of reaching the peak. The Serb will tie Nadal at the top of the list if wins the Australian Open for a record-extending 10th time, and the stakes are as high as they ever were.
Djokovic, the only player to win all 9 ATP Masters 1000 events since start of series in 1990, is 23-1 since 26 September last year and is on a stunning 34-match win streak in Australia since the start of 2019.
Djokovic’s Australia win-streak:
2019 Aus. Open (7): Melbourne
2020 ATP Cup (6): Brisbane (3), Sydney (3)
2020 Aus. Open (7): Melbourne
2021 ATP Cup (2): Melbourne
2021 Aus. Open (7): Melbourne
2023 Adelaide Int’l 1 (5): Adelaide
As Djokovic prepares to return to the Australian Open, here’s a look at some more key stats after his Adelaide triumph: