As the nine-time Australian Open champion’s legal team pondered their next move with less than 60 hours until the first match gets underway, confusion reigned about the next move.
Under provisions spelt out in the ITF grand slam rule book, the Australian Open can reshuffle the draw should a withdrawal occur before 11am on Saturday.
This would promote fifth seed Andrey Rublev to the top position on the draw sheet, with the Russian to play against Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic instead of Djokovic.
But should Djokovic mount a challenge and no decision be forthcoming, and provided the 20-time major winner does not withdraw immediately, a lucky loser would fill the spot.
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“He’s so resilient. What he’s been able to do over the years is nothing short of impressive,” Kokkinakis said.
“Just to stay motivated after all he’s done; to just keep wanting more and wanting to play – it just shows the love of the game and he’s one of the best competitors there is.”
“I’ll focus on here and I’m not looking past the qualifier because obviously there are a lot of great players,” he said.
“But it’d be good if I could win and get another shot at (Nadal).”
“As long as Rafael Nadal plays tennis and gets the chance, he is never a dark horse for me, but always one of the tournament favourites,” Becker told Eurosport Germany’s Das Gelbe vom Ball podcast.
“I think that in the back of his mind he just wants to win [the French Open] again. But he has to play tournaments first, preferably a Grand Slam. He has no pressure, nobody expects anything from him. The preparation was bad because of his Corona illness [but] I don’t know anyone in the main draw who would like to play Nadal in the first or second round.
“And again, he can also get [his 21st career win at a Grand Slam tournament]. I think that’s another reason why he’s playing in Melbourne. These top stars who have won so much, they wouldn’t be playing if they didn’t think they had a chance.”
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Famed for its thrilling shifts of momentum and otherworldly shot-making, the 2008 Wimbledon final consumed four hours and 48 minutes. The pressure on both men was enormous: Federer was trying to maintain his dominion at Wimbledon; Nadal still needed to prove that he could win on a surface other than clay.
Under the circumstances, it was difficult to imagine Nadal recovering mentally from those two squandered match points. Yet he retained his composure and went on to win the second consecutive overtime tiebreaker of the set. Final score: 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-7 (8), 9-7.
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