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‘Stubborn’ Novak Djokovic tipped to be ‘even better when everyone is against him’ at Australian Open

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Former player Andrew Castle says Novak Djokovic is “stubborn” and having the crowd against him at the Australian Open will make him play “even better”.

Djokovic won his appeal to stay in Australia on Monday after having his visa cancelled for not having sufficient evidence for his medical exemption. However, he could still be deported if Australia’s immigration minister Alex Hawke decides to re-cancel the visa in coming days.

The situation has many predicting crowds will be against him as he goes for a record 21st grand slam but Castle believes Djokovic will thrive in that environment.

“He’s such a stubborn and hard-working guy on court, if he gets this exemption and if the Australian government don’t supersede the court, I would say that he’s going to tee it up and play,” he told Sky.

“If he can get through two, three, four rounds, and play his way into the tournament - we know how good he is - I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him into the second week of this grand slam once again, because he is so stubborn and so good.

“When it’s time, and the bell rings, he’ll be ready to compete. Sometimes Novak can be even better when everyone is against him than when everyone is for him.”

Djokovic does have fans in Melbourne with many lining the streets in celebration after his victory. He broke his silence after winning his appeal and thanked those supporters.

He tweeted: “I’m pleased and grateful that the Judge overturned my visa cancellation. Despite all that has happened, I want to stay and try to compete @AustralianOpen I remain focused on that. I flew here to play at one of the most important events we have in front of the amazing fans.

“For now I cannot say more but THANK YOU all for standing with me through all this and encouraging me to stay strong.”

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