Novak Djokovic’s first Australian Open opponent earns $237,000 in salary
Miomir Kecmanovic was not expected to make it past the first round of the Australian Open.
Now the 22-year-old, originally slated to face fellow Serbian Novak Djokovic in the first round of the tournament, will return home with at least $237,000 in prize money.
World No. 77 Kecmanovic shunned Djokovic after his expulsion from Australia and instead faced ‘lucky loser’ Salvatore Caruso, earning a 6-4, 6-2, 6-1 win over the Italian.
The young tennis player followed that performance with upsets against American Tommy Paul and world No. 25 Lorenzo Sonego in the second and third rounds, respectively. Prior to the 2022 Australian Open, Kecmanovic had never made it past the first round of a Grand Slam.
“A week ago I was supposed to face the world number one and I didn’t have much luck there,” Kecmanovic said. “But now I’m in the last 16, so I’m glad I was able to take that chance and played really good tennis. I didn’t have a lot of pressure just because I felt like I had a second chance. So, I just wanted to use it as best I could.
Djokovic was deported from Australia on Monday after a protracted clash over his COVID-19 vaccination status. The ensuing legal battle with the Australian court system revealed that Djokovic had filed immigration documents with inaccurate information and failed to self-isolate after testing positive for COVID-19.
The 20-time Grand Slam winner is now planning to sue the Australian government for $4.4 million, a sum that would include the $2.75 million he was favored to win at the Australian Open.
If Djokovic had been allowed to compete and beat his compatriot as he would have been heavily favored, Kecmanovic would have left Melbourne earning just $74,000 compared to the quarter million now guaranteed to him.
Kecmanovic has been a strong supporter of tennis’ biggest vaccine skeptic, dedicating his first-round triumph to Djokovic.
“It was hard not to talk about this topic because it was happening right before our games, especially with me supposed to play it too,” he said in his post-match press conference after his win. on Caruso. “We said we were going to give everything we had, try to avenge him in some way and make him proud.”
Kecmanovic will have the opportunity to continue his dream run on Saturday when he takes on Frenchman Gael Monfils, currently ranked No. 17 in the world.