Goran Ivanisevic has described Novak Djokovic as 'heroic' for the way he bounced back from his Australian Open deportation to win Wimbledon.
Djokovic was sensationally ordered to leave Australia on the eve of the Australian Open in January over a vaccination row.
Ivanisevic was with him in Melbourne and has seen first hand how those events affected Djokovic, and he does not believe many, if any, others could have recovered at all, never mind returned to winning majors.
"You know, when something happens to the person - okay, we talk about Novak - but
anything happen to him in Australia... people, after that they never come back to tennis or to anything," Ivanisevic said.
"This was a huge thing what happened to him. We all expected from him after couple of weeks, Okay, forget about Australia, let's go back and practice. It's not happening like this.
"It took a long time, Monte-Carlo, Belgrade, then he started to play better, Madrid, Rome. Even he played well in Paris, but Rafa was better player that night.
"For some people, they don't recover. They will never play tennis. This was a big shock. Was shock for me, and I was there. I was free. Imagine for him.
"Unbelievable how he recover and how he got through that. It's really for me heroic because it was not easy to digest all the things and come back to play tennis.
"Then you're thinking, Why you have to play tennis? I mean, if you say three, four weeks before French Open, he was not allowed to play French Open, and you cannot make a schedule because one country change the rules.
"Now you can enter, now you cannot enter. We cannot make any schedule. We practice but we don't know for what we are practicing. It was not easy.
"It is better now. You know where you can go, where you cannot go. It's easier."
The beginning of the year was obviously very traumatic, not just for Novak Djokovic but everyone around him.
However, when asked it he ever had any doubts about Djokovic's ability to recover from it, Ivanisevic said: "No, no.
"People like him you don't doubt. He's a great champion. They say maybe took him a long time, but didn't take him a long time.
"Took him exact time that he needed to recover and to digest all the things what happened to him.
"I never doubt him. We were there. Not me, but all the team, everybody there working. But just he needed to find the peace.
"Like I said, was not easy to plan anything because one week he can play, next week he cannot play at that tournament. It's always how many cases of corona up, down.
"It was not easy, but this is the result. Today, this is the result. This trophy, this joy on the Centre Court. It's so beautiful. This is paying off."
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