Former British number one Annabel Croft has branded the ATP Tour ‘appalling’ for Novak Djokovic’s treatment throughout the 2022 season. Djokovic has endured a disrupted year of tennis and has plummetted down the rankings as a result – Croft believes unfairly.
Djokovic’s decision not to be vaccinated against Covid-19 has proven costly, banning him from this year’s Australian Open and US Open due to country entry restrictions. He has also missed four ATP 1000 in North America as a result of his status, failing to play for 10,000 ranking points in total.
Croft believes that number is far too much for who she believes is the best in the world and has labelled the whirlwind around Djokovic’s vaccination status a ‘mess’.
She told Tennis365: “I think it’s appalling what’s happened and the way it’s turned out [for Djokovic]. I just think the whole thing is a mess. Not being able to play Australian and the US Open was just ridiculous. With all the goings on with points and Russian players, it just feels like there is a lot to sort out. One of the most tumultuous years we have had in tennis.”
Djokovic has slipped to world number seven amid his absence from the ATP Tour’s biggest events, despite winning Wimbledon in the summer. And Croft added that the ATP rankings are currently inaccurate, hailing the 35-year-old’s seventh triumph at SW19.
“It certainly feels like Novak is the best player in the world, and I guess we will find out over the next couple of weeks at the Paris tastes and the ATP final. You look at the way he played at Wimbledon, even after everything that happened to him, and it was just flawless,” Croft explained.
“He was magnificent, and the way he found a way to beat Nick Kyrgios in the final was so impressive. Make no mistake, Kyrgios is very dangerous when he is at his best, and he was playing some fantastic tennis at Wimbledon, but Novak found a way to neutralise him and win another major. It was so impressive.”
Djokovic has won two titles in a row after returning from a three-month break and is ready for success in the Paris Masters. The Serb is well rested and the favourite in the French capital, with the ATP Finals his second and final tournament of a turbulent campaign.