Novak Djokovic news: Andrew Castle exclusive on what comes next for the world No 1

Novak Djokovic

Former British No 1 Andrew Castle has told Tennis365 that Novak Djokovic’s deportation drama in Australia may give him extra incentive to shine when he returns to action later this month.

Djokovic is set to belatedly start his 2022 season in Dubai later this month after he was denied the chance to defend his Australian Open title following a decision by the Australian federal government to revoke his visa over his non-vaccinated status.

Speaking to Tennis365 in association with Game4Padel, Castle suggested Djokovic may not have been treated fairly on each step of his Australian adventure that become the world’s most talked-about story at the start of January.

Yet he now believes the fuel from that setback and the sight of Rafael Nadal winning his record-breaking 21st Grand Slam title in his absence is likely to inspire Djokovic when he returns to court.

“The only camera we were missing down in Australia was one on Novak’s face on match point when Nadal made it to No.21,” Castle told Tennis365 in an exclusive interview. “After seeing that, I can imagine Novak’s motivation will be 100 per-cent moving forward.

We don’t know whether he can play at the French Open because of what (French President) Emmanuel Macron has said about everyone needing to be vaccinated, but he is going to be incredibly motivated where ever he plays.

“While we rightly celebrated that magnificent final with Nadal and (Daniil) Medvedev, Djokovic has won that tournament nine times and we just want to see him there.

“I want to see the very best giving it one last slog over the next year, two years or three years, so I missed Novak down there, regardless of my personal opinion of the way he conducted himself.”

Reflecting on the deportation story that created such a stir around the world, Castle suggested Djokovic was unfortunate to be caught up in a political storm, as he admitted mistakes were made by all parties.

“I’m a journalist and tennis is my love, but as a news story this Djokovic saga had so much and I found it fascinating,” he continued.

“My own personal view is he wasn’t treated entirely correctly at all times in that one. There was a vast amount of politics in it, with the elections in Australia and the restrictions they had to endure were so difficult.

“With a bit of luck it fizzles out and he can get back to doing what he does best.”

Andrew Castle at Wimbledon
Andrew Castle at Wimbledon

Castle believes Nadal’s memorable victory in the Australian Open final was a huge boost for tennis after the Djokovic scandal as he added: “It was a great tournament down in Australia and there are new names emerging in the game, but Rafa showed up and reminded us what real glamour with a five hour final and a narrative you could never written.

“Daniil Medvedev will take some time to get over that defeat because the win was there for the taking when he was two sets ahead, but it was a wonderful match and Nadal’s comeback was a great story.”

Andrew Castle is an ambassador for Game4Padel.