Former Britain No.1 Annabel Croft believes tennis has had one of the most chaotic years in its history as she suggests Wimbledon Novak Djokovic has been treated badly after missing several key tournaments.
Djokovic’s refusal to get a Covid-19 shot means he has missed the Australian and US Open this year, as well as all four ATP 1000 events in North America.
It means he missed out on the chance to play for 10,000 ATP ranking points during 2022 and Croft thinks the penalty is too heavy for a player who she says is still the best in the world.
“I think it’s appalling what happened and how it happened (for Djokovic),” Croft told Tennis365, in her role as Game4Padel ambassador.
“I just think it’s all a mess. Not being able to play Australia and the US Open was just ridiculous.
“You of all the events with the points and the Russian players and I feel like there’s a lot to sort out. One of the most tumultuous years we’ve had in tennis.
When asked if she thinks Djokovic is still the best player in the world despite his current world ranking of No. 7, Croft was convinced the ranking isn’t a good guide at the moment.
“It certainly feels like Novak is the best player in the world and I guess we’ll find out over the next few weeks in the likes of Paris and the ATP Finals,” she added.
“You look at the way he played at Wimbledon, even after everything that happened to him, and it was just perfect. He was magnificent and the way he found the way to beat Nick Kyrgois in the final was so impressive. .
“Make no mistake, Kygrois is very dangerous when he is at his best and was playing fantastic tennis at Wimbledon, but Novak found a way to neutralize him and win another major tournament. It was so impressive .
Djokovic has spoken in recent days about his hope that his Covid-related exile from major events will soon come to an end as he aims to find a way to play at the Australian Open.
In an interview with Sportal.blic.rs, Djokovic said he hopes to play in the opening Grand Slam of 2023.
“As far as Australia is concerned, there are positive signs, but unofficially,” he said. “We communicate through my lawyers in Australia. In fact, they communicate with the authorities in charge of my file.
“I hope to have an answer in the next few weeks – whatever that answer is, but of course I hope for a positive answer – in order to have enough time to prepare for the start of the season if that start is going to come in Australia.
“I really want to go, I’ve gotten past what’s happened this year and I just want to play tennis, that’s what I do best.
“Australia has always been the place where I played my best tennis, the results speak for themselves, so I’m still very motivated to go there. This time even more, so. I hope for a response positive.
“For the choices I made, I knew there would be certain consequences like not going to America, and that’s it. For Australia, it was a different case, I had the exception, but in the end it didn’t work.
“We know what happened, let’s not go back. This time, I’m waiting for permission again. Good thing they have now opened the borders to unvaccinated foreigners traveling to Australia.
“I have this ban, I hope it will be lifted. Like I said, it’s not in my hands, I hope the Australian government people will give a positive response, that’s all .
Djokovic will look to lay the groundwork for 2023 successfully at the Paris Masters and ATP Finals as he caps off a sparkling end to a troubled year.
Annabel Croft spoke to Tennis365 in her role as Game4Padel ambassador as she suggested the sport of padel is ready to take off in the UK.
“There’s a lot of momentum behind padel now,” Croft said. “You hear more and more people talking about it. I hear a lot of young people talking about padel and wanting to get into it.
“It really feels like the game is on an upward curve. It can cater to people who might find tennis too difficult and that’s the beauty of padel.
“Every time I play padel I leave with a big smile on my face. They are very similar skills to tennis because of all the volleys and the touch and feel.
“I haven’t quite mastered the back wall yet, but it’s a very social game. There are always lots of smiles on the court and it’s a great game. I really like that.”
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