The defeat of Djokovic in court due to the refusal of his visa, and the Serb entering the country unvaccinated, had a lasting effect on the tournament. The 34-year-old Serbian will have to relinquish his tennis throne for now if Daniil Medvedev or Alexander Zverev, who are likely to be the favorites for the tournament, win. Currently, the Russian and German national teams are second and third in the ATP rankings.
Of course, Djokovic’s absence is not a shame for Nadal and the other great players. In the fight for most major titles, the Spaniard is the only one of the “Big Three” in Melbourne who has a chance of winning the title 21. However, even when he was healthy, Nadal won only one of his 20 Grand Slam titles in Australia ( 2019). He was in the final four times, losing twice to Djokovic and once to Wawrinka and Federer.
Caruso ersetzt Djokovic from Melbourne
And Novak Djokovic’s expulsion from Australia has implications for the Australian Open. Italian Salvatore Caruso will replace the Serbian in the tournament. Among the top candidates now are Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev.
The 35-year-old Nadal, who has been vocally critical of Djokovic in recent days for his anti-vaccination stance, has been affected by the Covid-19 disease before Christmas, the 35-year-old Nadal, who has been vocally critical of Djokovic in recent days for his anti-vaccination stance. Despite winning a championship in Melbourne in a convincing fashion, Mallorquin, who is never averse to belittled, recalls: “I’ve only played three matches in the past six months and since the French Open have never won more than three set matches.”
Zverev & Co. are waiting
Otherwise, Nadal’s path is full of obstacles. Maybe Zverev is waiting in the quarter-finals. The German Olympic champion looks set to win his first Grand Slam title and is now the highest-ranked player in the top half of the board.
On the other hand, there are many indications that Russia will reach the finals, and Medvedev is likely to be the frontrunner. He triumphed for the first time at the US Open, hard courts is his best court, and last year only Djokovic was able to stop him in the final. His strongest competitor could be fifth seed Andrei Rublev. It’s unclear what to expect from Stefanos Tsitsipas. The Greek, who is famous in Melbourne, had elbow surgery in November.
Only Austria is a spectator
From an Austrian point of view, the first tennis event of the year is a tragedy: Dominic Thiem has yet to reach the 2020 finals due to the long-term consequences of his wrist injury. The former world number three, who wants to return to the tour in South America at the end of January, is likely to find himself outside the top 50 list.
Denis Novak was unable to qualify due to coronavirus disease, Georg Rodionov withdrew in the second round of qualifying, and Julia Graber in the women’s third.
Women’s Championship without Serena Williams
The record hunter is also missing in the women’s singles. Serena Williams, who would have loved to win her 24th Grand Slam title in Australia and thus joined Margaret Court, was already scrapped in December for fitness reasons. It’s becoming increasingly unlikely for the 40-year-old American player to get another major title, and the same goes for Federer, who is about the same age.
Ashleigh Barty is a favorite down there. The Wimbledon winner, who also won the French Open in 2019, only took the semi-final (2020) in Melbourne as her best result so far. One of the most exciting matches could be the possible round of 16 between Australian and Japanese superstar Naomi Osaka. Osaka is the defending champion and also won the title in Melbourne three years ago.
Already in the first round, there is a crack between US Open British Open winner Emma Raducano and American Sloane Stephens, who triumphed at Flushing Meadows in 2017. For women, it’s more true than for men that a surprise is always possible – like the arrival of Jennifer Brady (US USA) to the final last year.
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