Novak Djokovicexplained his motivations for pushing for the tenth Australian Open title of his career at the 2023 Australian Open. The Serbian legend said the challenge that comes with pulling that off while injured motivates him to do just that. He said his anger and frustration at the deportation drama he faced last year was a factor too.
The 21-time Grand Slam champion is bidding to become the first player to win 10 Australian Open titles. Djokovic is already at the top of the list for most Australian Open titles, but he wants more. However, many things influence Djokovic’s pursuit. He says the events of 2022 play in his mind every time he takes the court.
“You could say that there is something extra this year, yeah. You could say because of the injury, what happened last year. I just wanted to really do well,” Djokovic said. The incident the Serbian refers to is his deportation from Australia in 2022. Djokovic had entered the country after receiving an exemption despite being unvaccinated. The public outrage at that decision led the government to detain the Serbian. He challenged that decision in court and won but was then deported from the country.
The reason given was that Djokovic would be an inspiration to anti-vaxxers. He says those were the most challenging moments of his life. Djokovic wasn’t able to play in the Australian Open due to this. He returned this year after his three-year ban from Australia was overturned. Djokovic was on fire at the Adelaide International, which he won. But he picked up a hamstring injury in the semifinals against Daniil Medvedev.
The injury continued to affect Djokovic at the 2023 Australian Open. He has played with a strapping around his left hamstring. Djokovic has also altered his strategy to put less strain on his legs. The changes have been a masterstroke, as the player has won every match in Melbourne so far.
Djokovic cruised to a victory over Andrey Rublev to progress to the semifinals of the Australian Open. The player was carrying an injury before the game but didn’t show any signs during the match. Djokovic said he was getting better as the tournament progresses.
“I can’t say that this is as confident as I’ve ever felt. I had some amazing years, a lot of success here, but last two matches… To beat in-form dominantly in three sets sends a message to my rivals, I feel better as the tournament progresses,” he said. Djokovic will face American Tommy Paul in the semis and had words of praise for him.
“I know how Paul plays, I watched him play quite a bit. Great serve motion, he can step in, solid backhand, dictates with forehand. Complete player,” Djokovic said. The Serbian legend will be keen to avoid an upset and go all the way in Melbourne.
Samarth is a tennis writer at FirstSportz. He is in camp Federer for the G.O.A.T debate and is also a fan of Carlos Alcaraz. He's an avid follower of sports and will be willing to debate about F1 just as readily as basketball.
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