‘I’ve missed tennis’ – Djokovic in Dubai & keen to get back on court

Novak Djokovic says he’s keen to get back on court at next week’s Duty Free Tennis Championships, saying: “I have had plenty of tennis success and I am excited to go out on the tennis court next Monday”; world No 1 can also compete at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome

Last Updated: 17/02/22 7:47pm

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Novak Djokovic tells Serbia’s exhibition at Dubai Expo 2020 that he has missed tennis. Djokovic missed out on competing at the Australian Open following deportation
Novak Djokovic tells Serbia’s exhibition at Dubai Expo 2020 that he has missed tennis. Djokovic missed out on competing at the Australian Open following deportation

Novak Djokovic has revealed he has “missed tennis” and is keen to get back on court after being deported from Australia last month.

The world No 1 had his visa revoked twice when he was eventually deported by the Australian government last month because he was not vaccinated against coronavirus.

But he is now all set to play in his first event of the season at next week’s Duty Free Tennis Championships, where he is a five-time winner.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion was deported from Australia because he was not vaccinated against coronavirus
The 20-time Grand Slam champion was deported from Australia because he was not vaccinated against coronavirus

Djokovic this week reaffirmed his decision not to take any anti-coronavirus vaccine, saying he will continue to skip tournaments if his status as ‘unvaccinated’ prevents him from playing in any country.

It could mean he will not contest the French Open in May and may not have a chance to secure a 21st Grand Slam title until Wimbledon in June.

“I found happiness in life because I stayed in the sport that I truly love with my entire heart,” he said.

“I work with children which I always wanted to do, I stayed connected to the sport as a tennis coach, as a mentor and I feel very fulfilled and proud to be where I am and who I am, for me this is success and I am a champion.”

Djokovic is looking forward to playing in Dubai
Djokovic is looking forward to playing in Dubai

The government of Dubai does not require visitors to be vaccinated to enter, allowing Djokovic to compete in the event beginning next week.

“I always love Dubai. Love coming here,” said Djokovic. “I have had plenty of tennis success and I am excited to go out on the tennis court next Monday.

“I missed tennis honestly after everything that has happened in the previous couple of months and of course, the purpose of the visit today to the expo is promoting our foundation’s work.”

Djokovic will be joined at the hard-court event in Dubai by reigning champion Aslan Karatsev, Andy Murray and top 10 players Andrey Rublev, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Jannik Sinner.

Djokovic can compete in Rome

Djokovic is a five-time winner at Foro Italico in Rome
Djokovic is a five-time winner at Foro Italico in Rome

Italian sports minister Valentina Vezzali has said Djokovic would be allowed to participate in the Internazionali BNL d’Italia as outdoor events do not require a person to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

“It is an outdoor sport and the tighter green pass is not required,” Vezzali told Italian newspaper Libero on Thursday.

“So if Djokovic wants to come to Italy to play, he will be able to do so. Maybe without visiting hotels and restaurants.”

The tournament is set to take place in Rome from May 2-15.

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Source : Sky Sports