Australia to overturn Djokovic visa ban, paving way for Australian Open return Read more
It was his third appearance in the finals of an Australian Open event – the first since 2014 and the second in 2019. The 35-year-old’s last grand slam appearance was an 18-17, 6-7, 6-3, 11-9, 7-6 (5) victory over top seed Novak Djokovic in 2014.
Djokovic’s win over del Potro was his first competitive singles match in seven months and came less than a week after the former world No 1 withdrew from the Australian Open with a hip injury. The news of his injury, which he underwent surgery on, prompted a four-week hiatus before he was cleared to return.
While Djokovic is back into action, he will undergo a lengthy rehabilitation process, which will require an extended period away from the sport. The hip issue, which Djokovic labelled as “a small injury”, has affected his training schedule this season and his involvement in the match-play schedule – both of which are vital to his wellbeing. At the same time, he will be missing his first Grand Slam tournament since last year’s US Open, when Djokovic pulled out of his quarter-final match against Federer due to the hip injury.
“I have not been able to train like I would like to with hip injury,” Djokovic said. “I have been very cautious and careful because I don’t want to risk something serious. I know once I’m healthy, I’ll be able to play at 100%.”
Djokovic will look to take victory in Melbourne, however, after notching victory in each of his previous three grand slam finals meetings there, including a win in last year’s final against Rafael Nadal. But his absence from Melbourne has made his task even more difficult against Murray, who has won both of their previous meetings in the majors.
The Serb will have to win a fourth title in Melbourne after picking up his third Australian Open title in 2011 and last year’s semi-finals encounter with Andy Murray.
Murray’s last victory in the Australian Open came in Melbourne two years ago, when the former world No 1 was victorious 7-6 (3), 7-6 (5),