Former British tennis player Tim Henman expects Novak Djokovic to receive a “very hostile reception.”
Djokovic was granted a medical exemption for the Australian Open and he confirmed he’s unvaccinated.
“I think it will be a very hostile reception,” Henman told Eurosport.
“We all know what the Australian people have been through over the last couple of years and the hardships of the lockdowns, and I don’t think in my opinion Djokovic will be well received when he goes on the court.
“I think that’s unfortunate for the tournament. It’s a great event in Australia and they’ve had their challenges over the last couple of years. I hope it’s not a cloud that remains over the tournament.
“Knowing Djokovic’s attitude, he seems to thrive within that sort of confrontation though. It’s obviously not the ideal preparation to be stuck in a room for four or five days but I’m sure he’s very relieved to be out and excited about the opportunity.
“Given his record in Melbourne, having won nine times, he is going to be he’s going be very difficult to beat I think.”
Hernman says the draw important for Djokovic
Djokovic arrived to Australia late and then spent a couple of days in detention.
Djokovic’s won his case in court on Monday and he hit the practice court at Melbourne Park just hours after getting his visa reinstated.
It has been everything but a perfect preparation for the Australian Open but Henman is not ready to rule out Djokovic from the title contention.
“I think the way the draw comes out is important, because it’s probably fair to say that he might be a little bit under done for the first couple of rounds, but it’s very possible for him to play himself into form if he can come through those early rounds unscathed,” Henman added.
“He can build momentum. He has the experience of his whole career. So dealing with adversity goes with the territory.”