John McEnroe in surprise Australian Open snub ahead of grand slam

The controversial American has been a regular in the commentary booth.

John McEnroe (pictured left) during commentary and (pictured right) McEnroe interviewing Roger Federer.
John McEnroe (pictured left) a regular of the Australian Open commentary team will reportedly not feature this year. (Getty Images)

Seven-time grand slam champion John McEnroe won't be heading to Melbourne to commentate on the Australian Open after ESPN reportedly opted not to send the American. McEnroe has been a regular in the commentary booth in Melbourne over the years, while also taking part in colourful on-court interviews after matches.

One such quirky event involved himself, Federer and comedian Will Ferrell during the 2018 Australian Open. However, broadcaster ESPN has opted not to bring McEnroe to Australia for the 2023 tournament, according to Newscorp.

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Instead, McEnroe will work with Eurosport on their coverage of the Australian Open. Former Aussie player Sam Groth will also skip this year's edition after he was voted in as a member of Nepean.

Longtime Australian Open commentator, and former player, Jim Courier will return this year.

Despite the change to the commentary team for Australian households, McEnroe has been offering his expert opinion ahead of the year's first grand slam.

And the controversial American star focused on Novak Djokovic in the build-up to his return to Melbourne Park. Djokovic looked in formidable form having won the Adelaide International upon his return to Australia.

Djokovic also received a warm-applause and plenty of support throughout the tournament. And while McEnroe believes the 21-time grand slam champion will have some 'bitterness' to quash, he expects Djokovic to overcome those emotions and make a title charge.

John McEnroe (pictured left) shares a laugh with Novak Djokovic (pictured right) during the Australian Open.
John McEnroe (pictured left) expects Novak Djokovic (pictured right) to come out firing for this year's Australian Open. (Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)

There is going to sort of be a bit of bitterness, I believe, and he has got to get through that," McEnroe told Eurosport's Reem Abulleil. "I think he can get through that, he's obviously proven that he has gone through some unbelievably difficult obstacles, none more so than the last 12 months of his career.

"The fact that he was still able to go out and win Wimbledon and go out and play these smaller events in the fall to get his ranking high enough so that he can go and win the event in Turin and the year-end event, and embrace playing and competing, was just incredible because it would have been very easy to be frustrated and angry."

Novak Djokovic fired up for Melbourne Park return

Djokovic returned to Australia and defeated Quentin Halys, Denis Shapovalov, Daniil Medvedev and Sebastian Korda on his way to lifting the Adelaide International. The only hiccup Djokovic faced last week was a hamstring scare in his semi-final win over Medvedev.

The 35-year-old revealed he'd worked "deep into the night" with his physio after the match and was able to shake off the niggle in time for the final the following day.

"It was all right," Djokovic said, adding that he's confident it won't affect him at the Australian Open. "There were a few times in the match I felt was tightening up, the muscle, but nothing that would worry me for my performance."

with AAP

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