Novak Djokovic recently landed in Australia, nearly a year after his highly publicized visa debacle that saw him deported from the country Down Under due to his unvaccinated status. His arrival was welcomed with open arms by former CEO of the Australian Open, Paul McNamee.
The former Australian doubles player, who has extended his support to the 21-time Grand Slam champion numerous times in the past, was glad to see Djokovic back on court in the country and recognized him for his outstanding results in 2022, despite facing bans from various tournaments. McNamee was also in awe of the former World No. 1’s holistic approach and generosity.
“Good to see Novak Djokovic back on court in Australia. After all, he finished 2022 as the best player on the planet, arguably the most complete athlete in the world and, as a person, with a holistic approach and generosity of spirit which is often overlooked. Welcome back Novak,” Paul McNamee wrote on his social media.
“I’m hoping he can get it” – Former Australian Open CEO Paul McNamee earlier backed Novak Djokovic ahead of Australian Open 2023
Novak Djokovic kicked off his 2023 campaign at the Adelaide International 1 on January 2, with a doubles encounter partnering with Canada’s Vasek Pospisil. The pair failed to turn the fixture in their favor against Tomislav Brkic and Gonzalo Escobar, losing in the deciding tiebreak 4-6,6-3, 10-5. The Serb will now look forward to contesting the singles title on January 3, beginning with a clash against French player Constant Lestienne in the round of 32.
The 35-year-old, who is playing the tournament in Adelaide in preparation for the upcoming Australian Open, will be vying for a historic tenth title and 22nd Grand Slam, and was backed by Paul McNamee in his pursuit.
“I’m hoping he can get it. For me, he’s a person of principle. Not everyone agrees with what his position is, but he stands by his word and missed two grand slams this year. That’s a lot to miss when you’re one off winning the most Grand Slams, so I respect it and I hope he is well received,” he said.
McNamee thinks the Serb will give it his all in trying to achieve the special feat.
“I think winning 10 has a special ring to it. The only other man who’s won 10 [at a Grand Slam event] is Rafa at the French, so I think he’ll be going hard to get a 10th Australian Open, especially after last year,” McNamee said.
Poll : Will Novak Djokovic claim a historic 10th title at Australian Open 2023?