Djokovic discreet on Australian Open plans
Novak Djokovic ended his roller coaster season with a Davis Cup loss on Friday and then vowed to make a decision on his participation in the Australian Open “very soon”.
The world number one, who won three of the season’s four Grand Slam tournaments in 2021 to level him with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on the 20th, is still in doubt for the January Australian Open after the Organizers insisted that only fully vaccinated players would be allowed into the country.
The 34-year-old declined to say whether or not he was vaccinated against the coronavirus.
“I understand you want answers on where and how I’m going to start the new season, but we’ll see what the future holds,” said Djokovic, a nine-time record champion in Melbourne.
“I can’t give you a date, but obviously the Australian Open is coming soon, so you will find out very soon.”
He added: “I’ll try to use the next few days to recover, rest and forget about tennis. I’m really tired of this season and all this year.”
Djokovic’s dream of adding a second Davis Cup to his 20 Grand Slam titles was shattered when Serbia were beaten by Croatia in the semi-finals in Madrid on Friday.
Djokovic and his partner Filip Krajinovic lost 7-5, 6-1 to the best Mate Pavic and Nikola Mektic, the Olympic and Wimbledon champions, in the decisive double.
Djokovic previously beat Marin Cilic for the 18th time to keep Serbia alive.
The world number one, undefeated in singles in the tournament since 2011, triumphed 6-4, 6-2. It was his 19th straight Davis Cup singles victory.
“The season ends today. I don’t regret any tournament I have participated in. I did my best as always,” added Djokovic.
“Unfortunately, a singles victory is not enough. I try to learn especially from tough times like this. Painful as they are, these are usually the best opportunities to get stronger and grow.”
Djokovic closed his 2021 season after horribly missing the first Grand Slam calendar by a male player in more than half a century when he lost the US Open final.
His hopes for a first Olympic gold in singles were also dashed in Tokyo.
However, he still finished 2021 after winning the year-end world rankings for a record-breaking seventh time and will score a total of 350 weeks in first place on Monday.
Djokovic has also expanded his collection of Masters records to 37 titles.
Djokovic, who played for the Serbia squad which won their first and only Davis Cup in 2010, said his side must find a reliable doubles duo if they are to ever win a second title.
“We knew from the start that this would be the toughest game of the game,” he said.
“We knew that if it was based on the doubles, we wouldn’t be the favorites because we played the best pair in the world, players who play all the time together, who know each other very well, who are doubles specialists, who do you focus on just that.
“To win the Davis Cup you need a doubles team, otherwise it will be very difficult, it’s a lottery. It’s like climbing Everest.” (AFP)