In a recent interview with Blic, Bernard Tomic said it was a pity Novak Djokovic didn't get the opportunity to defend his title at the 2022 Australian Open. The World No. 258 opined that the Serb is the only player on tour who can "come back stronger" from the situation he finds himself in.
Djokovic was deported from Australia on January 16 after the Federal Court upheld his visa cancelation order, stating that his presence could "foster anti-vax sentiment" in the country. The Serb's visa was revoked by Immigration Minister Alex Hawke because the 20-time Grand Slam champion was unvaccinated.
In the interview, Tomic revealed a conversation he had with Djokovic in which he expressed sadness at the Serb not being able to defend his Australian Open crown. He also felt the media should have treated the World No. 1 better while he was in the country.
"I spoke to him and told him I was very sad not to have seen him at the Australian Open. I have already told the Australian media that they should have treated Novak better while he was in the country, and that it was a pity that he didn't have the opportunity to defend the title," Tomic said.
Hailing the World No. 1 as a "true champion," Tomic revealed the Serb thanked him for his support and believes he is strong enough to "overcome this situation."
"Novak thanked me for my support and wished me the best. What happened is unbelievable, unreal. But if there is anyone who can come back stronger and has the strength to face everything, that is him. Probably he is the only one on the tour who is strong enough to overcome this. I believe he is a true champion and that he will overcome this situation," added the Australian.
Novak Djokovic set to return to ATP tour at the 2022 Dubai Tennis Championship
Djokovic will compete in his first tournament of the season at the Dubai Tennis Championship, which will run from February 21-26.
The Dubai Tennis Championship is an ATP 500 event which takes place on outdoor hardcourts. Russia's Aslan Karatsev is the defending champion at the tournament.
Djokovic will be eyeing his sixth title in Dubai this year, a tournament he first won in 2009.