John McEnroe branded Djokovic 'bad guy for rest of career' after 'pressure got to him'

Djokovic, 34, has been centre of attention at this year’s Australian Open, despite not playing a single match. The reigning champion and World Number One was deported from the country on the eve of the tournament after a visa dispute. The Serb, who is unvaccinated against COVID-19 and has previously spoken out against jabs, failed to meet the country’s entry requirements.

Djokovic was detained at an immigration hotel soon after arriving in Melbourne and had his visa revoked.

A judge then overturned that decision, throwing the tennis star a lifeline for his hopes of defending his Australian Open title.

However, Djokovic’s visa was then cancelled again after he admitted there was false information on a travel form he submitted to the authorities.

The row around Djokovic’s entry to Australia and his deportation is far from the only controversy during his career.

Tennis’s serial bad boy John McEnroe once branded Djokovic the “bad guy for the rest of his career” after the Serb smashed a ball at the throat of a line judge in 2020.

Djokovic apologised for the incident, which happened at the US Open and got him disqualified from the competition.

McEnroe told ESPN at the time: “The pressure just got to him I think.

“I think a lot’s been going on off the court.

“It’s obviously affected him and now whether he likes it or not, he’s going to be the bad guy the rest of his career.

“It’ll be interesting to see how he handles it.”

“He’s chasing history, he’s trying to pass Rafa and Roger [on the all-time Grand Slams list].

“He’s younger, we all know that. He’s got a lot of things going for him, but this is obviously a stain that he’s not going to be able to erase, whether he likes it or not.”

Djokovic’s exit from Australia ahead of this year’s Open leaves Nadal in pole position to win the competition and scoop a record 21st Slam.

The Spaniard is the only one of the big three – who are all tied on 20 Slams – left in the tournament.

The only British interest left in the singles competitions is Dan Evans, who takes on Felix Auger Aliassime of Canada in the third round on Saturday.

Evans had been due to play Arthur Rinderknech in the second round but was handed a walkover before the match as the Frenchman pulled out with a wrist injury.

The other Britons in the singles competitions – Andy Murray, Emma Raducanu and Heather Watson – all lost their second-round matches.

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