Novak Djokovic is going into the Wimbledon Championships “angry” after a difficult 2022 season, says former world number four Greg Rusedski. The Serbian’s only title of the season came at the Italian Open in Rome prior to the French Open in May.

The 34-year-old was forced to miss the Australian Open when he was deported from Down Under for failing to get vaccinated for Covid-19. Djokovic’s decision to refrain from getting the vaccine also saw him miss the Masters 1000 “sunshine double” in Indian Wells and Miami.

Novak Djokovic was at Dubai airport Monday, after being deported, when the Australian Open began. Tournament chief Craig Tiley says the Serbian wants to return next year AFPTV / STR

Djokovic returned to action for the clay court swing of the season, and it took time for the Serbian ace to get back to his best. The former world number one lost to Carlos Alcaraz at the Monte Carlo Masters semifinal before losing at home in Serbia to Andrey Rublev in the final.

The 20-time men’s singles Grand Slam champion seemed to be back to his best when he claimed the title at the Italian Open, which made him a favourite going into the French Open at Roland Garros. However, Djokovic fell in the quarterfinals to eventual winner and archrival Rafael Nadal.

Rusedski feels the failure to win a Grand Slam so far this year will see Djokovic enter the tournament angry. Moreover, the Serbian was coming into the 2022 campaign on the back of a phenomenal 2021 campaign, which saw him claim three major titles, and lose the fourth in the final.

“Djokovic is angry because he hasn’t won a slam this year and the way he went out to Rafa in the French Open will have hurt him. Rafa’s trying to go for the calendar slam. He wouldn’t be showing up if his foot wasn’t 100 percent and he was ready to go and Berrettini has been by far the best,” Rusedski said, as quoted on Tennis Head.

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic kisses the trophy after winning his sixth Italian Open
Tiziana FABI/AFP

“Hurkacz is a guy who can go deep – semis or final – but win? Not with those three. Those three guys at the moment have separated themselves from the pack.”

“Making the finals is one thing, but you have to have this mindset that’s absolutely insane these days because of the big three or four we’ve had over the generations,” he added.

Djokovic alongside Nadal will be among the favourites going into the 2022 Wimbledon Championships at SW19. The younger generation will be hoping to break the stranglehold of the two veterans, who have won five of the last six majors.

Rafael Nadal
Too good: Rafael Nadal celebrates
Thomas SAMSON/AFP