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Novak Djokovic Is Cleared to Play in Australian Open

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Mr. Djokovic is incredibly popular amongst his fellow players, lots of whom have been offended that the principles have sidelined him. Australia’s decision could go a great distance toward helping the Open regain its status amongst players because the so-called “Comfortable Slam.”

Mr. Nadal won last 12 months’s Open after Mr. Djokovic was deported, beating Daniil Medvedev in a five-hour, 24-minute victory described by many as one for the history books. Mr. Djokovic, it seems, will now seek to jot down some history of his own.

He had a rocky comeback after Australia deported him, struggling to seek out his rhythm and a level of comfort on the court. He began to hit his stride throughout the clay court season within the spring, as much of Europe began to ease its restrictions on unvaccinated people.

The relief of those rules allowed him to turn out to be less of a pariah and put the main target back on his tennis. At Wimbledon, he won his seventh singles title, his twenty first overall, putting him one ahead of Roger Federer and one behind Mr. Nadal on the all-time list.

But as tennis shifted to the hard court season in North America, his 12 months screeched to a halt, because the United States continued to bar unvaccinated foreigners from entering the country. That prevented him from playing within the U.S. Open, where he would have been among the many favorites.

Mr. Djokovic has needed to scramble to qualify for this week’s ATP Finals in Turin, partly because being unvaccinated forced him to miss so many events and since the ATP Tour didn’t award any rankings points for Wimbledon, a punishment for that tournament’s decision to ban players from Russia and Belarus from competing.

After beating Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece on Monday night, Mr. Djokovic credited his run at Wimbledon with giving him the arrogance to compete against the perfect players with little preparation.

“It all the time comes, really, throughout my profession, at precisely the time that I want it to come back,” he said of Wimbledon. “It was an enormous relief, but at the identical time also an enormous boost of confidence.”

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