Rafael Nadal to be ‘foaming at the mouth’ if Novak Djokovic skips 2022 Australian Open

Novak Djokovic speaks following his US Open defeat against Daniil Medvedev.

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Former world No 1 Andy Roddick believes Rafael Nadal will be ‘foaming at the mouth’ if defending champion Novak Djokovic misses the Australian Open in January.

Djokovic’s participation at the opening Grand Slam of the season still has a large question mark next to it, after Australian Open chief executive Craig Tiley confirmed unvaccinated players will be unable to compete at the 2022 event.

As a result, the world No 1 has refused to declare his vaccination status ahead of the event in Melbourne putting his participation into question.

Djokovic has previously commented: “Things being as they are, I still don’t know if I will go to Melbourne.

“I will not reveal my status whether I have been vaccinated or not, it is a private matter and an inappropriate inquiry.

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“Of course I want to go, Australia is my most successful grand slam tournament. I want to compete, I love this sport and I am still motivated.”

With the Serbian’s place is now in doubt, former US Open champion Roddick believes that some of the world’s best players – including Nadal – will be chomping at the bit to collect the title.

Roddick said: “We don’t know what’s going to happen with Australia.

“Nobody knows except Novak what he’s going to do and if he’s going to play the game the way it has to be played to participate in Australia.

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“If he doesn’t, opportunity’s knocking for Medvedev, Zverev, Rafa’s going to be foaming at the mouth to get there and get to that 21st Slam so these other guys, they have to play their tournament either way,”

There is no doubt Nadal, Djokovic and fellow great Roger Federer have dominated the sport in recent years, earning them the label the ‘big three’.

However Roddick believes the field at the top events around the world has become much more open, especially with the recent injury issues of both Nadal and Federer.

The American went on to admit that he feels a new blood of talent is now taking over the renowned trio: “We used to say who’s the next generation that’s going to compete for Grand Slams. 

“Well they’re here, they’re doing it, they’re winning big titles, now it’s how long is the Big 3 going to hang on and be part of this conversation. We’re seeing the transition.”

Whilst Djokovic claimed three of the four Grand Slam titles this campaign, he did miss out on a clean sweep of all four after losing to Daniil Medvedev in the US Open final at Flushing Meadows in September.

And, if the Serbian is forced to sit out January’s opening Grand Slam down under, the bookies have Medvedev down as the man to prevail once again.

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