A few days ago, the news came that Novak Djokovic will be able to play the Australian Open 2023. The local government has in fact lifted the three-year ban on the Serbian, the protagonist of a bad soap opera earlier this year. The former world number 1 paid dearly for his choice not to vaccinate against the Coronavirus, which put him in the eye of the storm for much of 2022. The Serbian phenomenon was forced to miss the Australian Open and the US Open, as well as all the American Masters 1000 (Indian Wells, Miami, Montreal and Cincinnati). The 35-year-old from Belgrade, however, enhanced his season by winning Wimbledon, the Internazionali BNL of Italy, the ATP Finals of Turin, the ATP 500 of Astana and the ATP 250 of Tel Aviv. Nole will try to catch Rafael Nadal at 22 Slams already at the Australian Open 2023, where he will be the big favorite for the title. In an interview with Wide World of Sports Radio, Todd Woodbridge praised the 21-time Grand Slam champion.
Woodbridge on Nole Djokovic
“I think that’s the best scenario for the tournament because we want the best players playing at the Australian Open,” Woodbridge said. “What goes into the Open in terms of the build-up, prize money, what it does to our reputation around the world — we want the very best to be allowed to come here and allowed to play. And given the fact that Novak Djokovic has won it nine times, he goes into it now as a heavy favorite after not being allowed to play this year,” he added. “In my mind, the rankings this year are so skewed. He is still the No. 1 player in the world and to have him back is really important,” Woodbridge said. McCarvel feels that the nine-time Australian Open champion will be an overwhelming favorite against any player on tour over five sets in 2023, including Nadal. “I think Djokovic still stands alone at the top of the mountain when it comes to best-of-5,” stated McCarvel on a recent episode of ‘Courtside: The US Open Podcast.’ “Maybe over five sets I have a tough time with that analysis (of young players closing in on Djokovic), other than at the French (Open), where Rafa has been so supreme,” McCarvel expressed. “Now it is about the Rublevs, the Felixs, and even though Alcaraz is the youngest no. 1 at year-end in ATP history, how is he now going to back-up ascending the rankings mountain?, McCarvel said.