Novak Djokovic sets stage for a big chapter in sporting history

Djokovic stands one major championship win away from setting the men's record with 21 Grand Slam titles.

Novak Djokovic; credit: Twitter/@DjokerNole

How many times have we seen a sporting event where a team or an individual overturn the odds to script a sporting history? India cricket team in 1983 World Cup, Leicester City in Premier League 2015-16, Aizawl FC in I-League 2016-17 or Springboks winning the 2019 Rugby World Cup serve as a fine testament to the question but premier Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic has unfolded a new chapter to be considered in the sporting history in the Covid-19 era. It is a first-of-kind, self-made situation, that the World No.1 will find him in as the Australian Open main draw gets underway from January 17. 

The context 

Djokovic stands one major championship win away from setting the men’s record with 21 Grand Slam titles ahead of his arch-rivals and greatest of the current era Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. But his run even to the main draw of the first Grand Slam event of the years comes after an immense toil which put plenty of emotions in line. 

“We’re here to celebrate the victory of our son Novak. He always fought for justice. He’s done nothing wrong,” his mother Dijana said. 

“He went there to win that tournament. This situation has been extremely difficult. There has been a spectrum of emotions: sadness, fear, disappointment. There were moments when he didn’t have his mobile with him. we had no idea what was happening. I want to thank everyone in the world who stood up and supported him in Melbourne in front of that, so-called hotel,” she added.  

“This is his biggest win in his career, it is bigger than any Grand Slam,” she added after the Federal Court overturned the Australian Government’s decision to cancel the visa of the Serbian tennis star.

READ MORE: Sydney Tennis Classic: Andy Murray eases past Viktor Durasovic

But the past week has been nothing short of a test of character for the Serbian. His visa to enter Australia was revoked even as he wanted to participate at the Grand Slam with a medical exemption to get past the Covid-19 vaccine requirement for all players and was held in an immigration detention hotel alongside long-term asylum seeker.
The Federal Court only cleared him to participate in the major championship on Monday which was also a challenge of mental fortitude for the defending champion. 

The possibility of scripting history 

There is no doubt that his decision has raised eyebrows and left the fans and followers divided. But there is less or no doubt about the Serbian’s urge and will to succeed at the major event. 

However, there is bound to be constant chatter around the situation, in the build-up to the event. For instance: Ben Rothenberg, of the Racquet Magazine tweeted, “[Djokovic] came to the gym before his hit. The place went silent with everyone staring. Talk about uncomfortable”. 

But Ukraine’s Sergiy Stakhovsky, responded to the tweet, “Total bs .. was warming up for my match in the same gym. Find better gossipers”.

And amid all the chaos that Djokovic, finds himself in, his capability to withstand it all and defend his Australian Open will put a few arguments to bed, probably making his case stronger for the greatest men’s player of all-time. 

Sportslumo Desk

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