Dubai Duty Free Tennis: Djokovic raring to start season in Dubai

World No.1 Serbia's Novak Djokovic iduring a practice session ahead of the ATP Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Sunday. — AFP
World No.1 Serbia's Novak Djokovic iduring a practice session ahead of the ATP Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Sunday. — AFP

Dubai - The world No.1 said he will play this tournament and then see how it goes further down the line


James Jose

Published: Sun 20 Feb 2022, 9:04 PM

Last updated: Sun 20 Feb 2022, 9:06 PM

World No.1 Novak Djokovic revealed that there were a lot of emotions after his return from Australia but that didn't deter him from picking up the racquet and doing what he loves doing the most — play tennis.

The Serbian was deported from Australia following a long-drawn visa saga that also saw the 20-time Grand Slam winner being placed in detention hotel in Melbourne.

Having taken time off to reflect, Djokovic began preparations to play in Dubai.

"Of course, there was lots of emotions after I came back from Australia, so I needed a little bit of time to reflect and to just mentally rest. Then once I was refreshed, I was really looking forward to play tennis and compete," Djokovic told reporters in Dubai on Sunday.

"I started training probably about 10 days after I came back from Australia. I did fitness more or less every day. I’ve been playing tennis for the last three weeks, basically two and a half, three weeks. I’ve been enjoying it, enjoying my time on the court in Belgrade where I spent most of my time.

"You know, I love the game. I love just hitting the tennis ball (smiling). So, it wasn’t really difficult to pick up a racquet and go out on a practice court and just play because I have lots of passion for the sport and I value every minute that I spend on the practice court because I know there is always something to work on and improve.

Knowing that I was coming to Dubai, obviously I had something to work for. I had a goal. So now that I’m here, I can say that I am as well prepared as I possibly can be and excited to, again, be on the tour. That’s all I’m feeling at the moment," he added.

Djokovic also revealed the reaction in the locker room regarding his Australian experience.

"Well, so far here most of the players that I’ve seen — I haven’t seen too many players —but most of the players that I’ve seen have been positive and welcoming. It’s nice to see obviously. I can’t say that was the case in Australia. It was a little bit strange. But here it’s well so far," he revealed.

The unvaccinated Djokovic also said he will not be playig the full schedule on the Tour and added that he will play in whichever tournaments he can.

"I just have to follow the rules. Whatever tournament that I’m able to play, I’ll be trying to get to that country and play the tournament," said Djokovic.

"Obviously I’m not intending to play the full schedule. That wasn’t also my intention — as you brought up — and my goal prior to this season or the season before. I was trying to aim to play my best at the Grand Slams and some of the 1000 events we have, playing for my country. Those were the biggest motivations that I had in terms of the scheduling.

"Right now the situation is obviously different for me. I really can’t choose right now. It’s really about where I can go and play. Wherever I have an opportunity, I’ll be using probably that opportunity and going to play because this is what I do, it’s what I love to do still. I have support from my family. My team is still there with me. That’s important for me because obviously it was not easy for anyone in my surrounding to go through these kind of circumstances and situations that we all have been through.

"But it’s very exciting to have everyone here with me in Dubai. We’re back on the tour. We’ll play this tournament and we’ll see how it goes further down the line," the 34-year-old added.

More news from Sports