Novak Djokovic has not spoken in pubic since arriving in Serbia following his deportation from Australia, but his longtime coach Marian Vajda has hit out at the treatment meted out to his player. Vajda is certain that the world number one's mental health was affected, but has backed him to fight back and win again.
The Serbian player was held in detention after his visa was cancelled for the first time upon his arrival Down Under. However, he won his appeal, which allowed him to remain in Australia. Days later, Australia's Immigration Minister Alex Hawke cancelled his visa for a second time, which was upheld by the Federal court, and Djokovic was forced to leave the country.
Vajda, who has coached Djokovic for all but one year in the past 15 years, is certain that the 20-time men's singles Grand Slam champion would have struggled mentally. However, this is not the first time Djokovic has faced adversity, and the Slovak tennis coach is certain the world's top ranked player will come out fighting.
"I can't imagine how he handled it. It must have been a huge suffering," Vajda said, as quoted by the Sydney Morning Herald.
"He humbly endured all measures. But what they did to him must mark him. It is clear that it hit him mentally. It will hurt him for a long time and it will be difficult to get it out of his head," he added. "However, I know him very well. Novak is strong, resolute and has not yet said his last word in tennis."
After being denied a chance to compete at the Australian Open, governments in France and Spain have also indicated that unvaccinated players will not be allowed to play, which puts the Serbian's chances of playing the French Open at risk. However, Vajda believes there is no point talking about tournaments in May with the ever changing landscape owing to the ongoing pandemic.
"I don't understand ... why it's important for them to announce this now about the tournaments that will take place in May, when the world doesn't even know what will happen to the pandemic in a month," Vajda said.
"I do not want to underestimate the whole situation. It is serious in the world. But what is the purpose of discussing it now in January? Is it still about sport?"