‘It’s tough to be loved’ – Novak Djokovic will be ‘hit hard’ by ‘ludicrous’ saga declares John McEnroe
John McEnroe believes it is a real shame that after winning over so many with his emotional thanks to the US Open crowd after losing in the final, Novak Djokovic could be back to square one after the Australian Open debacle.
The comments from the seven-time Slam champion come soon after the world number one’s coach, Marián Vajda broke his silence on the matter.
He described it as “an unhealthy and unjust decision” to deport Djokovic from Australia, affecting the 34-year-old mentally, and likely doing so for a long time to come.
Speaking with Eurosport, McEnroe responded with his take about where Djokovic now finds himself.
“He’s as tough as they come ever on a tennis court, mentally,” McEnroe began.
“Remember a couple years ago [in 2016] when he fell off the map. He had won four [Slams] in a row and the next thing you know for a year and a half or so he couldn’t beat anyone.
“All of a sudden he came back and he was better than ever.
“He has made it somewhat more difficult for himself by not getting vaccinated.
“So that has complicated things obviously as he tries to go and defend titles that he won [last year].”
Of course, Djokovic is not in Australia to defend his 2021 title. In addition, doubts have been cast on the possibility of him defending his Roland Garros and Wimbledon trophies too should he remain unvaccinated.
The ATP has already begun gearing up by alerting players to legislation in France that will soon require all entrants into the country, including elite athletes, to be fully vaccinated.
Moving onto the subject of Djokovic’s position emotionally and in the eyes of the fans, McEnroe expanded as follows.
“There’s no question this is going to hit him hard.
“This is really unfortunate for a guy who had worked so hard to be loved.
“It’s tough to be loved and I know about times when people are against you.
“But deep down, we want to be loved! When he lost to Medvedev at the [US] Open, when he was going for the Grand Slam…which hadn’t been done (by a man) in 52 years.
“And [Djokovic] just said that the biggest thing is he appreciated the crowd there.
“All of a sudden Australia is the place where they love him the most and he didn’t even play!
“So this has just gotten to be ludicrous, so I don’t know what’s going to happen next.”
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