Novak Djokovic may have been plastered across the headlines days after touching down in Adelaide following the hard-quarantine 72 players were forced to undertake following positive tests on flight from multiple locations.
I did think the criticism of Djokovic was unfair, he didn’t put out ‘demands’ as it was widely reported but tried to explore options for his fellow players. I found it quite rich that the guy who stood up for his fellow players was criticised but those who stood silent got away with it.
In all honesty, I don’t think that would have bothered Novak one bit. He seemed quite relaxed in quarantine as fans welcomed him to Adelaide and interacted with fans from his balcony.
When it matters the most he does pull it out of the bag, a run for the quarter finals in Melbourne will take him to an incredible 300 match wins at Grand Slam level but that will not be enough for Djokovic. He is the Master in Melbourne when he gets to the latter stages.
I think this deserves a hell of respect, he rarely plays a warm-up and to have won eight titles in thirteen years at Melbourne Park is exceptional. He has never lost a semi-final or a final at Australian which is an out of this world record.
To turn up to begin your season to Melbourne year in year out and play to that level is quite exceptional from the world number one who is not far from becoming the player with the most weeks as world number one.
There are always questions when a season starts about how a player will find their form and I just thought the intensity he played with at the ATP Cup signalled to me that he means business once again.
I said at the beginning of the piece I think the criticism has been quite unfair on Djokovic but sadly it isn’t new to him. He has had made some big mistakes especially this last year but we aren’t perfect. He knows when he steps on the court against Roger and Rafa the crowd is with his opponents most of the time but it spurs him on and it will take something monumental to topple him at The Australian Open.