Rafa Nadal Australian Open 2022

Australian Open Second Service: Raducanu ‘can’t be very confident’ and Djokovic ‘career on the line’

Looking back on the big news in our exclusive ‘Australian Open Second Service’, Mats Wilander thinks that Novak Djokovic is potentially threatening his career prospects by not being vaccinated against COVID and Chrissie Evert is worried for Emma Raducanu ahead of the youngsters Australian Open debut, plus more…

Firstly, seven-time Grand Slam victor Mats Wilander said of Novak Djokovic’s refusal to take a vaccine against coronavirus, “Could we have a new number one? Well, it’s possible. I think so much depends on how much Novak is allowed to travel, how many tournaments he is allowed to play, and in the end, is he going to have to get vaccinated?

“His career is on the line and he might have to do something that he doesn’t really want to do.”

Now that the French Open organisers have said that all players must be vaccinated its possible that the Serbian world no.1 Djokovic might only be eligible to play at Wimbledon this year which will dent his chances of taking the lead in the all-time list of men’s singles Grand Slam titles

Novak Djokovic US Open 2021

Read the full article here

In other news, Chris Evert believes the pressure could be too much for Emma Raducanu before she takes on 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens in her first ever Australian Open match.

Raducanu has struggled for form since sensationally winning the US Open in 2021 as a qualifier and now faces a tough first round at the Australian Open.

“There’s a lot of pressure and she can’t have that much confidence going into this tournament because she hasn’t won a lot of tournaments,” Evert said on Eurosport.

“You just hope when somebody is ranked outside of the top 100 and they win a Grand Slam, you kind of wonder, are they an outlier or are they meant to be winning the US Open?

“And I just don’t know, if it happened too early for her, maybe a lot of people would think that, but everybody’s gunning for.”

Emma Raducanu Australian Open 2022

Read more about Evert’s concerns here

After a worrying Australian Open first round loss, American teen sensation Coco Gauff ‘must start playing tennis’ according to Mats Wilander.

Gauff went down 4-6, 2-6 to Chinese world no.110 Qiang Wang and Wilander said,

“First of all, Wang played an unbelievable match, she was very solid today,” Wilander said on Eurosport.

“I think for Coco Gauff it’s time to start playing tennis, meaning that she is so physically quick, she is so physically strong, being so young she is extremely mature on the court.

“But tactically she hits shots that make you think why would you go there? Why do you do that? So, I think it’s time for her to learn how to tactically be a better player.

“Hopefully she can learn because some players never learn how to play smart tennis, they just play physical tennis.”

Coco Gauff Australian Open 2022

Read Wilander’s full article here

Meanwhile, after a convincing first round victory Rafa Nadal says he is taking his injury recovery ‘day by day’ as he looks to grab the lead in the race to be crowned the leading men’s Grand Slam singles title winner of all time.

Nadal sits on 20 titles alongside great rivals Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic with neither player at this year’s first Grand Slam event.

“As I say a lot of times, when could you comeback from injuries that, unfortunately I know about it very well, things are always difficult and you need to go day by day.

“You need to accept the mistakes. You need to forgive yourself when the things are not going the proper way, because that’s the only way.

“You know at the beginning the things are going to be difficult.

Read all of Nadal’s comments here

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.