The former British number 1 finds a suitable word to sum up Novak Djokovic’s troubles

Novak Djokovic takes a break Credit: Alamy

Former British No. 1 Annabel Croft believes tennis has experienced one of the busiest years in its history, as it suggests Wimbledon Novak Djokovic was treated badly after missing several key tournaments.

Djokovic’s refusal to be vaccinated against Covid-19 means he has missed the Australian and US Open this year, as well as the four ATP 1000 events in North America.

It means he missed the chance to play for 10,000 points in the ATP rankings over the course of 2022 and Croft believes the penalty is too much for a player he believes is still the best in the world.

“I think it’s scary what happened and how it turned out (for Djokovic),” Croft told Tennis365, in her role as Game4Padel ambassador.

“I just think the whole thing is a disaster. Not being able to play in the Australian and US Open was just ridiculous.

“Between all the things that are happening with the points and the Russian players and it seems like there is a lot to fix. One of the most tumultuous years we have had in tennis ”.

When asked if he believed Djokovic was still the best player in the world despite his current world ranking of No. 7, Croft was convinced that the rankings weren’t a good guide right now.

“It definitely looks like Novak is the best player in the world and I imagine we will find out in the next two weeks at the tastes of Paris and the ATP final,” he added.

“You look at the way he played at Wimbledon, even after everything that happened to him, and he was just flawless. He was great and the way he found a way to beat Nick Kyrgois in the final was really impressive.

“Make no mistake, Kygrois is very dangerous when he gives his best and he was playing fantastic tennis at Wimbledon, but Novak found a way to neutralize him and win another major. He was so impressive.

Djokovic has spoken in recent days of his hope that his Covid-related exile from big events will end soon, as he aims to find a way to play in the Australian Open.

In an interview with, Djokovic said he hopes to play in the opening Grand Slam of 2023.

“When it comes to Australia, there are some positive signs, but unofficially,” he said. “We are communicating through my lawyers in Australia. In fact, they are communicating with the authorities responsible for my case.

“I hope to have an answer in the next few weeks – whatever the answer is, but obviously I hope for a positive one – so that I have enough time to prepare for the start of the season if that start happens in Australia.

“I really want to go there, I’ve finished what happened this year and I just want to play tennis, that’s what I do best.

“Australia has always been where I played my best tennis, the results speak for themselves, so I’m always very motivated to go there. This time even more, then. I hope for a positive response.

“For the choices I made, I knew there would be some consequences like not going to America, that’s it. For Australia it was a different case, I made the exception, but in the end it didn’t work.

“We know what happened, we don’t go back. This time I’m waiting for permission again. It is good that they have now opened borders for unvaccinated foreigners traveling to Australia.

“I have that ban, I hope it is lifted. Like I said, it’s not in my hands, I hope the people in the Australian government give a positive answer, that’s all. “

Djokovic will look to lay the foundations for 2023 with success in the Paris Masters and ATP Finals, while closing a troubled year with a brilliant end.

Annabel Croft spoke to Tennis365 in her role as Game4Padel ambassador, as she suggested that the sport of padel is ready for take off in the UK.

“There is a lot of momentum behind the padel now,” said Croft. “We hear more and more people talking about it. I hear many young people talking about padel and they want to enter the world of padel.

“It really feels like the game is on an upward curve. He can interact with people who might find tennis too difficult and that’s the beauty of padel.

“Every time I play padel, I go out with a big smile on my face. They are very similar skills to tennis because of all the volleys and the touch and feel.

“I haven’t mastered the back wall yet, but it’s a very social game. There are always a lot of smiles on the pitch and it’s a great match. I really like.”

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