Novak Djokovic is "still the No. 1 player in the world", according to Australian legend Todd Woodbridge, who has backed the Serb to triumph in Melbourne.
The 35-year-old, who equalled Roger Federer's record of six ATP Finals titles with a 7-5 6-3 victory over Casper Ruud in the showpiece match last week, has battled through a tumultuous year that began when he was deported from Australia.
Djokovic's fortunes have taken a turn for the better ahead of the next edition of the Australian Open, however, and he told Eurosport of his delight after the federal government in Australia overturned his visa ban to enable him to play at Melbourne Park.
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Woodbridge, who won three of his 16 Grand Slam men's doubles titles at the Australian Open, has said that it is the "best scenario" to have Djokovic available to play in January and reiterated that he still regards the Serb as the best men's player in the world.
"I think that's the best scenario for the tournament because we want the best players playing at the Australian Open," Woodbridge said on Wide World of Sports Radio.
"What goes into the [Australian] Open in terms of the build-up, prize money, what it does to our reputation around the world - we want the very best to be allowed to come here and allowed to play.
"Given the fact that Novak has won it nine times, he goes into it now as a heavy favourite after not being allowed to play this year."
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While Djokovic is officially ranked at No. 5 in the world with Spanish rising star Carlos Alcaraz occupying the top spot, Woodbridge believes the standings are "skewed" due to Wimbledon not being able to offer ranking points this year.
"In my mind, the rankings this year are so skewed," he said in reference to Djokovic not currently holding the top spot.
"He [Djokovic] is still the No. 1 player in the world and to have him back is really important."
Djokovic gave his reaction to the positive news around him being able to participate at Melbourne Park in a conversation with Eurosport at the ATP Finals in Turin.
"In terms of your next question related to Australia, yes I received the news yesterday morning and I was very, very happy to hear that news," Djokovic told Eurosport at the ATP Finals.
"It has been a tough year with everything that happened, obviously, in Australia for me and for the people who are close in my life.
"This came as a great new year present, I think, and I am looking forward to going to Australia and hopefully having another successful Australian Open, that has been historically my most successful Grand Slam.
"I had some of my best memories on that court. Hopefully, I can make more positive memories there."
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Stream the 2023 Australian Open live on discovery+ and eurosport.co.uk
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