Novak Djokovic’s strong declaration as Rafael Nadal targets 21st Grand Slam title

Djokovic ‘cleared out of the way’ for Nadal says Webster

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Novak Djokovic could have his Grand Slam haul overtaken by Rafael Nadal on Sunday. The Spaniard is currently preparing to lock horns with Daniil Medvedev in the final of the Australian Open. And victory would see him move out in front ahead of both the Serb and Roger Federer.

Nadal has been in impressive form at the Australian Open so far, despite a foot injury previously casting doubt on whether he’d participate in the tournament.

He was too strong for American Marcos Giron in the first round, cruising to a 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 victory, before then beating Yannick Hanfmann and Karen Khachanov.

Since then, the likes of Adrian Mannarino, Denis Shapovalov and Matteo Berrettini have also been swept aside.

And Nadal is now just one victory away from breaking the record for the player with the most Grand Slam titles to their name in the men’s game.

Casting a cloud over the occasion, however, will be Djokovic.

The Serb was absent from this year’s competition having been deported by the authorities following a lengthy stand-off over his visa.

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And Djokovic has previously insisted it will be he, instead of Nadal or Federer, who will retire with the most majors to his name.

“I’m always very confident in myself,” he said last year.

“I believe I can win the most slams and break the record for longest number one.

“Those are definitely my clear goals.”

Last year, however, Djokovic made it clear he was only focused on himself rather than his rivals.

“I’m not chasing anybody,” he said at Wimbledon last year.

“I’m making my own path and my own journey, my own history.

“I’m privileged to be part of history of this sport that I love.

“I know about a lot of stats. I don’t know about all of them.

“But they do motivate me even more to play my best tennis at the events that count the most in our sport.”

Djokovic, after being deported and kicked out of the Australian Open, is now readying himself to go again.

There has been some talk of him quitting the sport if the authorities at top Grand Slam events refuse to let him play.

Yet Djokovic is eyeing more history and, due to his competitive nature, won’t throw on the towel just yet.

He did admit, though, that he was disappointed not to be playing in Australia this year immediately after the decision.

“I’d like to make a brief statement to address the outcomes of today’s Court hearing,” he said.

“I will now be taking some time to rest and to recuperate, before making any further comments beyond this.

“I am extremely disappointed with the Court ruling to dismiss my application for judicial review of the Minister’s decision to cancel my visa, which means I cannot stay in Australia and participate in the Australian Open.

“I respect the Court’s ruling and I will cooperate with the relevant authorities in relation to my departure from the country.

“I am uncomfortable that the focus of the past weeks has been on me and I hope that we can all now focus on the game and tournament I love.

“I would like to wish the players, tournament officials, staff, volunteers and fans all the best for the tournament.

“Finally, I would like to thank my family, friends, team, supporters, fans and my fellow Serbians for your continued support. You have all been a great source of strength to me.”

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