‘We are seeing the best version of Novak Djokovic’ after 2022 Australia fiasco ‘woke up a beast inside of him’

Shahida Jacobs
Novak Djokovic crowd Paris
Novak Djokovic reacts at the Paris Masters

Novak Djokovic has taken his on-court performances and off-court demeanour to a whole new level following the controversial 2022 Australian Open drama that resulted in him being deported from Australia.

That is the view of tennis pundit Alex Corretja with the Spaniard believing that the whole fiasco has helped Djokovic to deal with everything that tennis throws at him much better.

Tennis great Djokovic endured a nightmare start to the 2022 tennis season as he was detained by border patrol as soon as he touched down in Melbourne following confusion over his visa and vaccination status against Covid-19.

His visa was revoked and he opted to challenge the decision in court, which resulted in him spending several days in an immigration detention facility. He won the court case and his visa was reinstated, but the travelling document was then revoked a second time and this time he was deported after he failed to win a second court case.

Djokovic admitted in subsequent interviews that he was devastated by the controversy and felt “hurt” by the fact that several of his fellow tennis players did not support him.

The Serbian, though, has taken his tennis to another level since that debacle as he has won four of the six Grand Slams that he has played in to move to a record 24 majors while he has also set a new record for most weeks spent at No 1 as he is currently on 398 weeks.

Former world No 2 Corretja believes the Australian Open disaster “woke up the beast inside” Djokovic.

“I think what happened to him in Australia led him to a long introspection,” the two-time French Open finalist told Eurosport.

“He dove within himself and understood who he was. And he just got deep inside his soul, his body, his mind. And from then on, he’s understood and dealt with everything better.

“He knows the people from outside better, what they think about him. Even the fellow tennis players, which ones were a little more on his side, which ones were not.

“So I think it’s like it woke up a beast inside him that he had, and he’s now controlling all his emotions much better than before. And I see now that even players or the crowd appreciate him even more than before because he’s authentic, he’s natural, he’s himself, and he’s not trying to go with a mass, saying things to make everyone happy.

“He’s just gone with his principles. You might like them or you might not, but definitely he’s someone who is going to fight for whatever he feels he needs to go for.

“And he does that with the association that he’s creating for the players [PTPA], the way he’s acting on court.

“So I think we are seeing probably the best version of Novak Djokovic overall. Of course, maybe he’s a little bit different than five to ten years ago. But overall, I think we’ve seen probably the best performance of Novak in the whole history.”

READ MORE: Novak Djokovic discloses ‘huge inspiration’ behind his decision ‘not to leave professional tennis now’