Todd Woodbridge hails Serbian superstar’s looming Australian Open return after government’s decision


Todd Woodbridge has hailed the looming return of Novak Djokovic to the Australian Open as “the best scenario” following the government’s decision to overturn the Serbian superstar’s visa ban.

Djokovic was hit with a three-year ban from entering Australia after he was deported on the cusp of this year’s tournament due to COVID-19 vaccination status issues.

But the call by Immigration Minister Andrew Giles to abolish the ban will see Djokovic shoot for his 10th Australian Open title in January.

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“I think that’s the best scenario for the tournament because we want the best players playing at the Australian Open,” Woodbridge said on 2GB’s Wide World of Sports radio.

“What goes into the Open in terms of the build-up, prizemoney, what it does to our reputation around the world — we want the very best to be allowed to come here and allowed to play.

“And given the fact that Novak has won it nine times, he goes into it now as a heavy favourite after not being allowed to play this year.”

Djokovic has slipped to eighth in the ATP rankings, but that’s largely due to the former world No.1 being absent from this year’s Australian Open and US Open.

Another significant factor is the ATP’s decision to not award ranking points at Wimbledon response to the All England Club’s ban on players from Russia and Belarus.

If the ban hadn’t been imposed, Djokovic would have earned 2000 ranking points for winning the Wimbledon title.

“In my mind, the rankings this year are so skewed,” Woodbridge said.

“He is still the No.1 player in the world and to have him back is really important.”

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