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"Not a legit tournament without the GOAT Novak Djokovic" - Tennis fans react to Serbian's absence in 2023 Australian Open promotional post

2022 Australian Open: Previews
Novak Djokovic practices at Melbourne Park ahead of the Australian Open last January.

Despite a near three-month break from the sport, Novak Djokovic has been in-form, winning a pair of titles in a two-week span in Tel Aviv and Astana.

This bodes well in his quest for a record-extending tenth Australian Open trophy and record-tying 22 Grand Slams when the season restarts in January. That is if his three-year ban following the cancelation of his visa and deportation due to his unvaccinated status earlier this year will be overturned.

The show goes on, however, as the Australian Open organizers ramped up promotions for the tournament by announcing the availability of tickets on social media.

The Twitter post included art cards that featured World No. 1 Iga Swiatek and American ace Coco Gauff for the women's side, as well as World No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas, 2022 doubles champs Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis, Italian stars Matteo Berrettini and Jannik Sinner, and reigning champion Rafael Nadal for the men's.

Grand Slam tennis Down Under, you know the drill.Get your tickets today and start 2023 with us 🎫 πŸ‘‰ ticketmaster.com.au/ausopen#AusOpen

Djokovic's absence from the promotional material irked his fans on social media.

One supporter questioned the legitimacy of the tournament without who he deemed the greatest of all time.

"Not a legit tournament without the GOAT Novak Djokovic," said on fan.
@AustralianOpen Not a legit tournament without the GOAT Novak Djokovic.

Another fan shared the sentiment.

"Without Novak Djokovic, the AO (Australian Open) is like whatever to me," read one tweet.
@AustralianOpen Without Novak Djokovic the AO is like whatever to me.

Some supporters reminded the tournament that the former World No. 1 is its nine-time champion and he should not be excluded from the ad.

"Excuse me, but you deliberately left off the nine-time champion from your campaign," a user wrote.
@AustralianOpen Excuse me but you deliberately left off the 9time champion from your campaign https://t.co/FkEOIoh4mP

Here are a few more fan reactions:

@AustralianOpen The one slam wherein the most successful champion is not even mentioned and respected...
@AustralianOpen πŸ€” who is missing, who is missing?? Oh that’s right, 9 times champion #NovakDjokovic https://t.co/ELeim28OaH
@AustralianOpen You should really push the government for answers whether Novak would be allowed asap. How long can it take? If he's there, I'll be too. If not.....well, I'll go somewhere else.
@AustralianOpen Is he gonna be there? What happened last year is shameful and you have a lot of blame for that. We want to see the greatest player playing his greatest GS! https://t.co/BuY6lLTbsZ

Novak Djokovic eyes 39th Masters 1000 trophy at 2022 Paris Masters

Novak Djokovic (right) with Daniil Medvedev at the 2021 Paris Masters.
Novak Djokovic (right) with Daniil Medvedev at the 2021 Paris Masters.

Novak Djokovic, fresh from securing his 90th career title in Astana, will look to tighten his grip on the lead for the most Masters 1000 titles in Paris.

The Serbian currently sits at the top of the leaderboard with 38 Masters 1000 titles. He is two trophies ahead of second-place Rafael Nadal, with the recently retired Roger Federer far behind in third with 28 titles.

The 35-year-old beat Daniil Medvedev in the championship match last year in Paris, exacting revenge for his US Open final loss to the Russian that put an end to his dreams of completing a Calendar Slam.

If the former World No. 1 triumphs at the Paris Masters this year, he will win a record-extending seventh title at the tournament.

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Edited by Anirudh
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