Novak Djokovic ‘needs time to recover’ after visa ordeal, Johanna Konta believes

Konta says that the Serbian will need time to recover from an “ordeal”

Harry Latham-Coyle
Wednesday 19 January 2022 16:16
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Novak Djokovic arrives at Belgrade airport after being deported

Johanna Konta has suggested that Novak Djokovic should take some time to “recover” after having his visa revoked.

Djokovic was deported from Australia after authorities declared a medical exemption to enter the country as an unvaccinated player ahead of the Australian Open to be invalid.

Having overturned an initial revoking in court, the Serbian failed with a final appeal against immigration minister Alex Hawke’s decision to remove his visa again, and returned home.

A nine-time winner of the event in Melbourne, Djokovic missed out on the chance to defend a title he has won in each of the last three years.

Konta, who announced her retirement from tennis in December, believes that the 34-year-old should take time to reflect on and recover from the “ordeal”.

“To be honest I think right now he probably needs to take a little bit of time to recover from what happened in Australia,” Konta said on Eurosport’s coverage of the Australian Open.

“I think that was quite an ordeal and we have no idea how much emotional stress and energy that took out of him.

“I think he’s probably going to take some time, look after himself, spend time with his family and then reassess on how he wants to move forward.”

Djokovic could face yet more Grand Slam difficulty in 2022.

The Serbian has confirmed that he is currently unvaccinated, which could rule him out of the French Open after the government ruled that only vaccinated individuals could attend sporting arenas.

Konta believes it is “unfortunate” and “sad” that Djokovic missed out on the chance to win a 21st Grand Slam, a tally that would push him beyond long-time foes Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer as the most successful male tennis player ever.

“There are a lot of different elements to it,” Konta explained. “But I think overall it’s just a sad situation.

“It’s so sad to see someone who tries really hard to do right by people, right by fans, right by tournaments. He’s quite generous with his money and time to help.

“I think it’s unfortunate to see someone in that situation and hurting like that. Also, we would have loved to see Djokovic there playing for his 21st Grand Slam. It’s history and we want to be a part of that history.”

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