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John McEnroe feels Australian Open fans are ‘gloating on what they did to Novak Djokovic’

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NOVAK DJOKOVIC will be watching from afar as Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev compete in the Australian Open final.

Novak Djokovic was the overriding favourite to defend his Australian Open title before his visa controversy led to the world No 1 being deported just hours before the tournament started. Tennis Australia and the Victorian government came under fire for their role in the chaotic situation and John McEnroe feels Australian fans are now “gloating” at how the first major of the year has panned out.

Djokovic had even been included in the Australian Open draw before ultimately being told that he wouldn’t be able to compete.

That opened the door for someone else to win the men’s title in Australia for the first time since 2018 when Roger Federer beat Marin Cilic.

As ever, there were a few upsets in the early rounds with the likes of Alexander Zverev, Cameron Norrie and Andrey Rublev knocked out before the second week.

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Daniil Medvedev lived up to his pre-tournament expectations by reaching his second consecutive Grand Slam final while Rafael Nadal caught a few by surprise with his 29th career major showpiece.

The pair are competing in Sunday’s showdown, but Saturday belonged to the Australians in more ways than one.

Ash Barty won a historic Grand Slam title to become the first Australian to win her home major in 44 years.

And that was followed by an all-Australian men’s doubles final with Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis becoming Grand Slam champions for the first time in their careers.

The Australian Open crowd were loving the performance of their compatriots and McEnroe believes Saturday’s results would have had many “gloating” with Djokovic forced to stay home.

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“If you think about how the tournament started three weeks ago when this all train wreck transpired, considering people were all bummed out and this thing appeared to be totally mishandled, we’re starting to get info every day on what’s going on,” he said on Eurosport.

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“But the good news is we have an absolutely fantastic final number one.

“Nadal going for history when he hasn’t played for six months. The last guy that did that was Roger when he hadn’t played for six months and won it.

“Ash Barty won the women’s singles. The Aussies should be thrilled right now!

“They’re gloating over what they did to Djokovic, Ash Barty won the singles and Kyrgios of all people won the doubles with Kokkinakis.

“This is now a chance to see two great players. Nadal can make history and Medvedev is starting to get there.”

For Nadal, the men’s final is his chance to break ahead of Djokovic and Roger Federer as the all-time leader in men’s Grand Slam titles won.

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And Tim Henman believes both his rivals will be watching closely on Sunday.

“First and foremost, they started out as tennis fans and they’re two of the greatest players in the history of our sport,” he said.

“I’d certainly be messaging Roger before the event and he’s always keeping an eye on what’s going on in the pre/ warm-up events and during the Australian Open.

“The trio of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic – they’ve got so much history and this match is going to add to that.”

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