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Alexander Zverev made a spirited defence of embattled world primary Novak Djokovic on Saturday, saying his legacy won’t be tarnished by the visa saga which has rocked the tennis world forward of the Australian Open.

Djokovic arrived in Melbourne with a medical exemption from Australia’s requirement for guests to be vaccinated for COVID-19 however had his visa cancelled first on arrival after which once more on Friday after he gained a court docket case earlier within the week.

His hopes of successful a document 21st Grand Slam title on the Australian Open could possibly be ended by the end result of one other court docket case on Sunday.

Djokovic’s dedication to play within the match with out vaccination angered the Australian public and drew criticism from fellow gamers however third seed Zverev stated he was nonetheless a towering determine within the sport.

“I don’t know what the notion across the followers is,” he instructed reporters.”I do know that within the sport he’s nonetheless seen one of many best gamers as a result of his achievements should not taken away.”

He nonetheless gained 20 Grand Slams. He nonetheless has essentially the most weeks as world primary. He nonetheless has essentially the most Masters Sequence (titles).”Nonetheless for me, one of many best gamers of all time.

“That is clearly not a pleasant factor for everybody, for him particularly. However don’t query his legacy due to this.”

Ought to Djokovic be absent from a match he has gained 9 occasions it might enhance the possibilities of gamers like Zverev, who’ve been knocking on the door on the Grand Slams for years.

Zverev named himself amongst contenders to look at at Melbourne Park, together with U.S. Open champion Daniil Medvedev, Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas and sixth seed Rafa Nadal, who’s stage with Djokovic and the absent Roger Federer on a document 20 Grand Slam titles.

“I’ve practised with Rafa, who I believe is taking part in unimaginable proper now once more,” stated Zverev of the Spaniard.Zverev was carrying a T-shirt with German colors in a throwback to final yr’s Olympic triumph in Tokyo the place he gained the singles gold, the proudest second of his profession.

He stated the clothes gave him good vibes forward of the Grand Slam.”I did have the largest victory, the largest match on this planet that I gained on this gear. It brings again unimaginable recollections,” he stated.”I simply needed to have that feeling earlier than the match begins right here.”

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