"The big issue is, will he play the Australian Open?" - Mischa Zverev unsure if Djokovic will ever recapture the World No.1 ranking

Mischa Zverev has told Eurosport Germany’s Markus Paszehr on an Instagram live that he is unsure if Novak Djokovic will reclaim the world No. 1 spot.

The 21-time Grand Slam singles champion Djokovic claimed his third title of what has been a largely frustrating 2022 for him as he cruised past fellow veteran Marin Cilic, 6-3 6-4, in the final of Tel Aviv Open on Sunday.

Djokovic was forced to miss the US Open due to his decision not to get vaccinated from Covid-19 and was delighted to get back to winning ways on the ATP Tour with a fine victory and what he described as a "really amazing experience" at the event. The 35-year-old did not drop a single set as he won the 89th tour-level title of his career.

However, having missed the Australian Open and US Open, where he was defending champion and finalist respectively, and with no ranking points on offer at Wimbledon, where he was also defending champion, Djokovic has fallen to world No.7.

And while Zverev is backing the 34-year-old to play for many years to come, he has placed doubt on his ability to get back to the top of the world rankings.

"The way Novak looks, he can play another three or four years,” Zverev told Eurosport in the Instagram live. “Age is only a number if you do everything right on and off the court like Novak.

“But I don't know if he will be world No. 1 again. The big issue will be: Will he play the Australian Open? If it goes badly and later in the year there are no ranking points at Wimbledon again, he would potentially be 4000 points short."

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