Novak Djokovic hopes to receive a warm welcome from the public at the Australian Open tennis tournament, a Grand Slam tournament he has won nine times, which he “likes to play” and where the former N.1 world will return in January after missing the 2022 edition.
“After what happened last year, I hope I will be properly welcomed and that it will help me play my best tennis,” the Serb told reporters in Dubai on Friday.
The current world No.5 had missed the last edition of the Australian Open after being expelled from the country because of his vaccination status, at the end of a hyper-mediatized political-judicial saga.
Not vaccinated against Covid-19, he had tried to return to the territory with an exemption finally refused, and had been expelled just before the start of the tournament after spending several days in a center for migrants. He had also been struck by a three-year inadmissibility.
But since then, the vaccination requirement has been lifted in Australia and the Serb has obtained his visa. His ban on entering the territory was lifted at the same time, in November.
“In the past, I’ve always had the chance to start my years in Australia very strong and I love playing here,” Djokovic said.
The one who had started the year in the shoes of the world No.1 regressed in 2022 in the rankings, having been unable to play two Grand Slam tournaments, the Australian Open and the US Open, his refusal to to be vaccinated against Covid-19 having then closed the doors of these two countries to him.
Despite everything, he managed to win the Wimbledon tournament during an eventful season for him, which he ended with a bang by winning the Masters 1000 of Paris-Bercy and then the Masters in Turin.
“I would like to be able to play as long as possible,” Djoko said afterwards when asked about his future.
“I don’t really have a number in mind. Things are going pretty well for me so far. I can’t complain. So as long as I’m playing at this level, as long as I have the fire, I’ll keep going. “, continued the Serb.
In the event of a tenth Australian Open title, he will equal the record for most Grand Slam titles currently held by Spaniard Rafael Nadal alone, with 22 lifts.