‘He was hoping he would be here’ – Lajovic unsure on Djokovic’s Australian Open participation after ATP Cup withdrawal
Lajovic will play as Serbia’s No 1 at the ATP Cup in Djokovic’s absence
Dusan Lajovic will be leading Team Serbia at the ATP Cup when it begins this weekend following the late withdrawal of world No 1 Novak Djokovic.
Speculation has been rife for months that Djokovic will not play any events in Australia due to the Covid-19 vaccination requirements set out by the state and federal governments.
And Tennis Australia confirmed on Wednesday that he had withdrawn from the team event, leaving Lajovic as Serbia’s highest-ranked singles player.
At Thursday’s press conference, Lajovic was unsurprisingly pushed on what he knew about Djokovic’s decision-making – and he made it plain that all of them had hoped he would have joined them in Sydney.
“I think we were all waiting for that last-minute decision [from Djokovic],” he said. “It’s never the same when you have No 1 in your team and you don’t have it. It’s a big difference. Obviously, when Novak is in the team, the expectations get much higher. Then everybody is putting the spotlight on Novak, of course, and then trying to push the whole team.
“Right now maybe we are on the sideline a little bit, and it could be good for us, it could be bad, we’ll see. Definitely different, but we’ve got to see what happens after the tournament and how it goes.
“Unfortunately he’s not able to come here, but he was, I think, hoping, same as we did, that somehow he will be here. Unfortunately he’s not, and we’ve got to deal with it.”
Lajovic – Djokovic is waiting for a decision
Lajovic confirmed, however, that Djokovic was still hoping to be able to play the Australian Open – where he would be aiming to become the first man to win 21 Grand Slam singles titles.
“Australian Open is still uncertain for us,” he said. “I don’t know the information, so I think that will come in the next couple of days or whenever is the deadline or whatever it is. We don’t know right now. Hopefully he will be there, and be able to play the Grand Slam.
“He said, ‘I’m not coming, guys, to the ATP Cup. We’ll see about the Australian Open.’ He didn’t specify if he’s coming or not but that he’s waiting for decision.”