Djokovic news: “He owns that tournament”

At the Australian Open, Novak Djokovic has built a stature for himself as iconic as that of Rafael Nadal at the French Open and Roger Federer at Wimbledon believes tennis commentator and reporter Nick McCarvel. The Serb is the clear favorite to win his 10th Australian Open title on his return to the Melbourne Major in 2023, he declared.

Djokovic received some great news last week as his Australian visa ban is set to be overturned by the government, enabling him to play in the first Grand Slam of 2023. McCarvel highlighted how happy the World No. 5 was upon learning the news as he always feels confident in Melbourne and is eager to make up for the lost opportunity this year.

Speaking on a recent episode of ‘Courtside: The US Open Podcast’the American commentator reflected on Djokovic’s Australian Open legacy, a tournament he believes the 35-year-old “owns.”

“In clear tennis terms, he owns that tournament,” Nick McCarvel said. “You put him in the stature of Rafa at Roland Garros and Roger, maybe 10 years ago, the way he owned Wimbledon.”

He elaborated on the same and said that everything about the conditions at the Australian Open favors Djokovic and makes him very difficult to defeat.

“9-time champion, the surface, the conditions, he often times plays at night when the ball moves a little bit slower and that helps him just become a blue wall. I was watching his interview with Prakash Amritraj on Tennis Channel and he was just beaming about this decision because, in clear tennis terms, it means that he gets to go back to a place that he’s been so successful,” McCarvel added.

The former World No. 1 missed many tournaments in 2022 and is relatively fresher than his competitors, which will come as a ‘blessing in disguise’ for him ahead of the Australian Open, believes McCarvel. That, coupled with his record there and natural conditions, will help his cause in the 2023 edition, as per McCarvel, who also praised Djokovic for maintaining a great level of fitness.

“He’s been very fresh and he hasn’t played as much tennis as a lot of the top guys because he wasn’t allowed into the US…I think it’s only going to help him come to Australia when he is going to be even fresher. Now Novak, at 35, he’s still this guy who has kept himself in such great physical shape,” the American expressed.

“Novak Djokovic is the favorite to win Australian Open 2023 despite Rafael Nadal being the defending champion” – Nick McCarvel

Novak Djokovic at the 2022 ATP Finals in Turin.“/>
Novak Djokovic at the 2022 ATP Finals in Turin.

Nick McCarvel, who is often seen during on-air and commentary duties at most big tennis tournaments, believes it has all come together quite well for Novak Djokovic ahead of the 2023 Australian Open.

Even though the Serb’s biggest rival Rafael Nadal will enter the tournament as the defending champion, the nine-time champion will be the ‘man to beat,’ feels McCarvel.

“Now him being able to play in Melbourne and being fresh, not being tired, he’ll have a certain off-season, it is going to be Novak against the rest of the field, it just can’t be with his history there. Even with Rafa as the defending champion, that is Novak’s tournament absolutely,” McCarvel stated.

Djokovic has not lost a match at the Australian Open since his fourth-round loss to Hyeon Chung in the 2018 edition. He won three consecutive titles thereafter from 2019-21 and is on a 21-match winning run at the Australian Open. Overall, he has an 82-8 win-loss record in the tournament, and his 91% winning record there is his personal best among the four Grand Slams.

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