John McEnroe has described Novak Djokovic’s situation as “crazy” with the Serbian still unsure if Wimbledon will be his last Grand Slam of 2022. On Sunday, Djokovic, 35, continued his march towards another title at SW19 by beating Tim van Rijthoven in four sets on Centre Court, setting up a last eight clash with Jannik Sinner.
Six of Djokovic’s 20 Slam titles have come at the iconic grass-court event, and his campaign this year has taken on extra emphasis amid serious doubts over whether he’ll play the US Open in August. Current Covid-19 restrictions mean he won’t be able to enter the States without being vaccinated.
His refusal to have his jabs has already cost him a place in the Australian Open, following an explosive visa saga which saw him deported out of the country the day before the tournament began. The issue also meant he missed the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells and the Miami Open.
However, he was permitted to play the French Open, where he was beaten in the quarter-final by eventual winner Rafael Nadal. And despite him seemingly being at his best so far at Wimbledon, McEnroe argued that the situation must be taking its toll.
“Starting with Australia, I can’t imagine that that didn’t affect him quite a bit emotionally and hung with him for a long period of time,” he said during BBC’s Wimbledon coverage on Sunday. “I’m not even sure it’s out of his system yet, honestly.
“Winning this would do it, or go a long way to getting over it. But then he doesn’t even know if he can go to the States yet, right now he’s not allowed to enter the United States and play the US Open. It’s crazy.”
To compound matters for Djokovic, the Australian Open was also won by Nadal, whose subsequent French success took the Spaniard to 22 Grand Slam titles. That’s two more than the Serb, who has never hidden his desire to finish his career with more major titles than anyone else.
He will also be bidding to halt Nadal’s quest of a calendar Grand Slam, something Djokovic himself missed out on last year when he was beaten in the final at Flushing Meadows by Daniil Medvedev. The two top seeds cannot meet at SW19 until the final.