Tennis: Tennis-Djokovic will return stronger, say fellow Serbian players


MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Novak Djokovic has the psychological metal to beat his Australian Open debacle and are available again even stronger, his fellow Serbian players mentioned on Monday because the yr’s opening main kicked off with out the lads’s world primary and defending champion.

Djokovic, a document nine-times winner at Melbourne Park together with the final three titles, left Australia on Sunday for Belgrade after dropping a Federal Court enchantment in opposition to the cancellation of his visa to enter the nation.

Serbian Laslo Djere, ranked 51st, backed the 20-times Grand Slam champion to attract inspiration from the episode.

“That’s what he does. That’s additionally in our Serbian mentality,” the 26-year-old Djere advised reporters.

“When we get beat down or we’re handled a foul manner or how we possibly do not deserve, we simply attempt to — particularly him, tries to be impressed by that and acquire power from that.

“I’m positive that he will come again stronger than ever.”

Djokovic, who will not be vaccinated in opposition to COVID-19, was granted a medical exemption to play in Melbourne however spent a rollercoaster 10 days in Australia earlier than being deported.

Djere, who misplaced to Canadian Denis Shapovalov within the first spherical on Monday, mentioned “one thing went horribly improper” and described it as a “true catastrophic state of affairs”.

“I hope that sooner or later he will be the very best tennis participant in historical past and that this will be solely checked out as a setback on his path to be the very best tennis participant to ever play the game,” mentioned Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic, ranked thirty ninth.

Spaniard Rafa Nadal, Djokovic’s greatest rival on court docket, mentioned the Serb was not the one individual at fault.

“The preferrred state of affairs on the earth of sport, that the very best players are on court docket and taking part in crucial occasions,” mentioned Nadal, who’s tied with Djokovic and Roger Federer on 20 main titles.

“That’s higher for the game undoubtedly. If Novak Djokovic was taking part in right here, it is higher for everyone, little doubt about that.”

The males’s draw on the yr’s opening main was already missing huge names like Federer and Dominic Thiem and Djokovic’s exit will additional enhance possibilities for his rivals.

Former world quantity six Gael Monfils of France and 14th-ranked Shapovalov, nonetheless, don’t see Djokovic’s absence making it any simpler for others.

“It’s not like there’s just one man you possibly can lose in opposition to. There’s a variety of difficult opponents,” Shapovalov, 22, mentioned. “It was the identical factor I felt like at U.S. Open when he (Djokovic’s default) was out of the draw.

“You sort of begin trying ahead, feeling just like the draw is open. The actuality of it’s that there is so many robust players. It’s tremendous robust to play in opposition to anybody.”

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; modifying by Ed Osmond)

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