2022 Australian Open Boys’ singles runner-up Jakub Mensik recently stated that he is delighted that Novak Djokovic will be allowed to participate in the 2023 edition of the tournament.

The Serb failed to defend his crown Down Under in 2022 after he was deported from Australia under circumstances involving his unvaccinated status and an erroneously-filed visa document. The nine-time Australian Open champion was subsequently slapped with a three-year ban from entering Australia, however, that was overturned last month.

Speaking to iSport.cz, 17-year-old Jakub Mensik stated that he was “very happy” when he learned that Djokovic would be allowed to participate in the year’s opening Slam.

“I wish him [luck] very much. When the news reached me that he would be able to play one of the most popular Grand Slams, I was very happy. Already at the beginning of the year, he had a very difficult time there. I’ll be cheering for him and sending energy there remotely,” Mensik stated.

“Meeting and training with Novak Djokovic, who has become my friend, is a great honor for me” – Jakub Mensik

Jakub Mensik fought valiantly in the final of the 2022 Australian Open Boys’ singles but fell short after almost four hours on the court. The fact that he decided to finish the match by fighting hard until the last point despite suffering intense muscular cramps in the final set earned him widespread praise.

The Czech’s performance also caught Novak Djokovic’s eye, who later invited the teenager to his academy to train alongside him. Mensik headed to Belgrade in February this year where the legendary Serb devoted two hours every day for a week to guide the Czech in all aspects of the game.

During his interview with iSport.cz, Mensik was asked to pick the more intense experience between his journey at the Australian Open and his overall experience at the Novak Djokovic Tennis Center.

The teenager highlighted a host of positives from both experiences, mentioning how the legendary Serb, who he considers his idol, has now become his friend.

“Everything was an experience for me, every match, every training session, every moment in the gym. And of course on the court with Novak or at the Australian Open. (smiles) There were so many that it’s impossible to say which one would be the best and most intense,” Mensik said.

“But of course, meeting and training with Novak Djokovic, who has become my friend, is a great honor for me and I am very excited about it, because he is my idol and I look up to him. For me it’s a very pleasant experience as well as success at the Australian Open, even though I couldn’t finish it,” Mensik added.