West Australian Tristan Schoolkate said controversial tennis star Novak Djokovic was “in high spirits” after helping the world No.1 prepare for a 10th Australian Open title.
Schoolkate, who was knocked out of the Australian Open qualifiers in the first round by American Christopher Eubanks, helped put Djokovic to the test at Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday.
Djokovic’s participation in the grand slam is still uncertain, the federal government reportedly devised a plan to cancel his visa again and deport the Serb.
Schoolkate, 20, said the 34-year-old hasn’t spoken too much about the vaccination drama unfolding around him as he prepares for the first round.
“He looked pretty happy. It was great fun being there at the Rod Laver Arena, it’s my first time going there, so I enjoyed that, ”Schoolkate told The West Australian.
“I think he was just happy to be outside, and he’s obviously won the tournament a few times. He is therefore happy to be on the court, on his own ground you could almost say.
“I think he was just thankful to be out there in the sun and the fresh air.
“He’s arguably the best player ever so being out there and hitting with him was pretty cool.”
Schoolkate is fully vaccinated and has had no problem helping Djokovic although he is not the same.
“Everyone does their own business and makes their own decisions,” he said.
“I have nothing to ask for really. It didn’t really put me in phase.
Schoolkate backed Djokovic for being a good chance at winning another Australian Open title after a solid session, despite the star’s days locked in a Melbourne hotel.
“He looked like he was hitting the ball well. I think he will have a good chance of winning the tournament as long as he can play and whatever happens, ”he said.
Djokovic even had time to give the youngster some advice.
“It’s always nice to be on the pitch with the best players in the world,” he said.
“You watch them on television. I’ve watched games where he played (Rafael) Nadal on this pitch … so being on the pitch hitting with them is pretty cool.
“He was pretty encouraging and said that I was doing well, so I have things to build on and I hope I can get there someday.