Novak Djokovic ‘the big loser’ in enforced 2020 tennis shutdown, says Mats Wilander
Novak Djokovic is tennis’ biggest victim from the sport’s enforced hiatus due to the coronavirus as it has “stopped him in his tracks”, according to Mats Wilander.
Both the clay- and grass-court seasons have been wiped off the calendar after the ATP and WTA jointly decided to suspend all tennis until July 13.
It means Djokovic won’t be able to defend his Wimbledon title this year as the 134th Championships will now only be staged in 2021.
The world No 1 was on an incredible run before the break kicked in as he was unbeaten in 2020 as he helped Serbia to win the ATP Cup and then won the Australia Open and Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
But he will have to wait a while before he can attempt to extend his 18-0 record for the year.
Although former world No 1 and seven-time Grand Slam winner admits the Serb has been hit hard, he feels the younger players are also suffering due the lack of competitive tennis.
“The big loser is Djokovic. He has not yet lost a match this year and it is clear that the virus has stopped him in his tracks,” he told French publication L’Equipe.
“It is also a loss of time for all the guys who are pushing behind the Big Three. Of course, they have progressed a lot in training but guys like [Denis] Shapovalov, [Stefanos] Tsitsipas or [Felix] Auger-Aliassime will only get better playing matches.
“In any case, when you are young, training doesn’t really interest you. You don’t want to spend four hours doing backhands. You want to play matches.
“I think the only players who can take positives out of the situation are those who came back injured from Australia.
“When play begins again, everyone will start from zero. But it is terrible not knowing when it will start.”
Novak Djokovic remains on target to finish the year in number one spot
Only Rafael Nadal can now overhaul Djokovic but it would involve the Spaniard taking a wild card as a late entry into the Sofia Open next month.
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