Andrew Castle predicts how Novak Djokovic will fare if he plays at Australian Open

Novak Djokovic 'won't win Australian Open' says Bowers

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Novak Djokovic will use the controversy over his entry to this year’s Australian Open to inspire him to glory, former British tennis player Andrew Castle believes. The Serb was recently given the green light to play in the competition. However, while that’s the case, his involvement remains uncertain.

It’s been a turbulent week for Djokovic so far, with the 34-year-old facing issues ever since arriving in Australia.

Due to his refusal to take a coronavirus vaccine, the world No 1 was initially arrested and forced to quarantine like other passengers arriving from overseas.

On Monday, a judge ruled that Djokovic should be allowed to play in the competition.

However, the drama is far from over with the Australian government now investigating whether he provided the wrong information on his travel forms.

Djokovic is under scrutiny for denying he’d travelled in the 14 days prior to jetting out Down Under, despite pictures appearing to show him in Belgrade for the Christmas period.

The Serb flew out to Australia from Spain, rather than his homeland.

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For now, Djokovic appears primed to be involved in the Australian Open having been named as the tournament’s No 1 seed.

And Castle thinks that, if he plays, he could use the vitriol from the stands to inspire him into the second week.

“He’s such a stubborn and hard-working guy on court, if he gets this exemption and if the Australian government don’t supersede the court, I would say that he’s going to tee it up and play,” he told Sky.

“If he can get through two, three, four rounds, and play his way into the tournament – we know how good he is – I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him into the second week of this grand slam once again, because he is so stubborn and so good.

“When it’s time, and the bell rings, he’ll be ready to compete.

“Sometimes Novak can be even better when everyone is against him than when everyone is for him.”

Djokovic has never been one to win popularity contests.

And Boris Becker, who coached the world No 1 between 2013 and 2016, thinks his former student is shell-shocked from the events of the last week after speaking to him.

“I spoke to him yesterday briefly and I congratulated him and he thanked me for my support,” said Becker.

“But obviously he’s still shell-shocked about the last six days.

“He’s a remarkable young man, his spirits are better. He went to train at midnight, that’s just who he is.

“He’s a different cat. He sees the world with a different pair of eyes.

“You may not agree with everything he does but you have to respect him and obviously his preparation is beyond bad, I don’t think he’s ever been in a worse position entering the week before a Grand Slam but that’s just the way it is.”

Becker also opened up on how Australian Open fans could treat Djokovic, too.

And he feels that the Serb is made of tough stuff as he looks to outdo Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal by winning a 21st Grand Slam.

“I’m sure there are going to be a couple of boos and whistles but again, he’s used to that,” he continued Becker.

“He was never everybody’s darling.

“He was always a street-fighter, he had to fight the odds, he had to win over the crowd and I thought it was fascinating at the final of the US Open when they finally embrace him and he couldn’t handle that either.

“He started crying in the changing rooms because he was filled with too many emotions.

“Again, the crowd will be difficult with him but with each match he’s starting to win the crowd will embrace him again but it’s going to be a difficult first week.”

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