Mats Wilander: Novak Djokovic skipping Australian Open would hurt tournament

Eurosport seven-time Grand Slam champion Mats Wilander acknowledges that the Australian Open is Novak Djokovic’s most successful Grand Slam and it would be natural for him to break the all-time Grand Slam record at Melbourne. 

Djokovic has 20 Grand Slams in his collection and nine of those 20 Majors came at Melbourne Park. 

Last week, the Australian Open confirmed only fully vaccinated players will be allowed to compete at Melbourne Park.

“I think the Australian Open is obviously doing the thing that they have to do and the Australian government has decided this is what is going to happen,” Wilander told Eurosport. 

“I can easily see that some players are not going to get vaccinated and they are not going to go. Is it a big deal? Yeah, it is a big deal for the Australian Open, but it gives opportunities to other players. I don’t know what Novak Djokovic is going to do.”

Wilander would not be surprised if Djokovic skipped Melbourne

“Is the Australian Open the most important tournament in his career? Well, it is the most successful Grand Slam for him. I’m not sure if it is more important than the French Open or Wimbledon or the US Open, but it is his most successful Slam,” Wilander continued. 

“It would be the most natural place for him to break the tie of 20 Grand Slams with Roger and Rafa. But at the same time, Novak Djokovic, I think, is thinking about his own health.

“He is thinking about the future. He is thinking about the long-term, and so I would not be surprised at all if Novak doesn’t go.

“Is it going to hurt the tournament? Yeah, it will hurt the tournament in one way. But at the same time, we have a better chance to see a new Grand Slam champion, so I would not be that concerned.”

Djokovic has been absolutely dominant at the Australian over the last decade. 

Djokovic has won the tournament’s past three editions and he will be the top favorite to win a fourth consecutive title if he decides to play.

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