Djokovic Deported From Australia, Battle For Grand Slam Title More Open
Novak Djokovic (Twitter @djokernole)

JAKARTA - The Grand Slam that Novak Djokovic is used to will feel different as competitors vie to fill the power vacuum left by the Serbian who left the Australian Open.

The holder of nine titles at Melbourne Park, including the last three in a row, was to continue his run and claim a record 21st Grand Slam title after he lost his appeal in court to stay in Australia on Sunday.

Tennis Australia's governing body, Tennis Australia, said it respects the Australian Federal Court's decision to enforce the cancellation of Novak Djokovic's visa which had forced the reigning champion out of the Australian Open.

"Tennis Australia respects the decision of the Federal Court," said the organizers of the Grand Slam.

The absence of the world number one is a blow to the men's tournament which has already been starred after the withdrawals of Roger Federer and Dominic Thiem.

However, for the players who are ready to compete at Melbourne Park on Monday, it is a golden opportunity, especially for sixth seed Rafa Nadal, who holds a record 20 Grand Slam titles, just like Djokovic and Federer.

2009 titleholder and four-time finalist, Nadal, is the only Australian Open champion left in the draw.

Before Sunday's court decision, Nadal could meet the Serb in the semifinals. The Spaniard has not been unbeaten on hard court since 2013.

If Nadal can overcome the odds against third seed Alexander Zverev in the quarter-finals, the highest seed Nadal could face in the semifinals is seventh-placed Matteo Berrettini of Italy.

Nadal needs to work hard for that. Because, there are many bright new generations that have seen the Spaniard drop down the rankings in recent years.

Second seed Daniil Medvedev could be a huge obstacle to Nadal's hopes of stealing the title in the race for a record Grand Slam title.

Medvedev was beaten by Djokovic in last year's final but the Russian turned the tables on the Serb at the US Open to win his first major title.

He will become the first player outside of "The Big Three" Djokovic, Nadal and Federer to win back-to-back Grand Slam titles since Andre Agassi in 1999-2000.

Meanwhile, Zverev, who missed out on his first Grand Slam final at the 2020 US Open from Thiem, feels Melbourne Park is the right time.

Fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas will be another player looking to steal the title when Djokovic leaves.

Tsitsipas beat Nadal in last year's quarter-finals to reach his second semifinal at Melbourne Park before being stopped by Medvedev.

Months later, Djokovic dashed Tsitsipas' hopes of a maiden Grand Slam title in the final at Roland Garros.


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