California Observer

Novak Djokovic Next Move After 21st Grand Slam Win

Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates after beating Australia's Nick Kyrgios to win the final of the men's singles on day fourteen of the Wimbledon tennis championships in London, Sunday, July 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

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Normally, Novak Djokovic would be one of the favorites for any grand slam competition, especially after winning one of the four major championships on the calendar.

On Sunday, the Serbian beat Nick Kyrgios in the final to win his fourth Wimbledon title in a row and seventh overall. This was his 21st grand slam win.

Even though Djokovic won Wimbledon, he will drop from No. 3 to No. 7 because the tournament’s organizers decided to ban Russian and Belarussian players from playing this year. This means that Djokovic’s ranking points will be taken away.

Djokovic’s immediate future is still unknown, though, as things currently stand. His participation in upcoming grand slams in the US and Australia has been called into question as a result of his opposition to the COVID-19 vaccine.

Djokovic has had a difficult few months off the court, and it has crept into how he plays there. After a long ordeal that included being locked up and ending with Djokovic being kicked out of Australia in January, he couldn’t play in the Australian Open because he wouldn’t get the Covid-19 shot.

Novak Djokovic might face a three-year visa suspension from Australia owing to the circumstances surrounding his deportation, though Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews could not rule out an exception. In January, she stated that “every application will be assessed on its merits.”

The former world No. 1 acknowledged that despite his gradual but steady comeback to playing, he had to “weather a storm” during that period.

Djokovic’s coach and 2001 Wimbledon champion, Goran Ivanisevic, hailed the 21-time grand slam champion for his ability to bounce back after a “difficult year.”

Despite his comeback to playing in some tournaments, his stance against the COVID-19 immunization has prevented him from competing in others.

He has missed US tournaments all year, including Indian Wells and the Miami Open, as non-US citizens are required to have a complete COVID-19 vaccination in order to obtain a visa and visit the country.

As things stand, he would not be allowed to participate in the US Open, which will start on August 29, as he has not received the necessary vaccinations.

Djokovic said he would “absolutely love” to play at Flushing Meadows but didn’t sound overly confident about contending there given the situation.

The 35-year-old wouldn’t even be allowed to compete in the 2023 Australian Open because of the country’s current visa regulations.

The French Open in May 2023 might mark Djokovic’s next appearance on the tennis court as one of the best players to ever represent the game.

He needs one more grand slam title to tie Rafael Nadal’s all-time record of 22. He has said that he will focus on the biggest events in the future, which gives us an idea of what he plans to do.

Opinions expressed by California Observer contributors are their own.

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