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Novak Djokovic Dubai Championships 2022

Novak Djokovic reveals most players have been ‘welcoming’ upon his return to the Tour

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With vaccination being a divisive subject in current times, Novak Djokovic has revealed that most players on the Tour have welcomed him back despite his deportation saga and vaccination status.

20-time Grand Slam icon Djokovic embittered numerous former professionals, current players and spectators when he was eventually deported from Australia just one day before the Slam began.

Whilst it was revealed in the legal proceedings that Djokovic was unvaccinated against Covid-19, he was deported on the grounds that he may stoke anti-vaccination sentiment.

Similarly, Djokovic’s deportation saga in part led to the deportation of Czechian doubles player Renata Voracova.

Multiple players have openly said to the media that they disagree with Djokovic’s stance, including Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, and Garbine Muguruza, but they ultimately respect his decision.

World number one Djokovic’s actions had been said to have taken away from the first Grand Slam of the season, whilst other players were trying to prepare.

In a recent interview with the BBC, Djokovic confirmed his intention to remain unvaccinated even if he misses Slams. This means he will be the only unvaccinated player within the ATP top 100.

Speaking in a press conference after beating Lorenzo Musetti, Djokovic said “I’ve had a few conversations actually, most of the players that I met here, in the last couple of days were very friendly to me.

“They came up and some players asked me ‘how it felt’ [and] ‘how do I feel right now?’

“The majority of them actually welcomed me and said that ‘it’s nice to see me back on the tour’.

“So obviously that makes me feel great and I’m very thankful for that because having the understanding at least, if not support, from my peers and my colleagues is very important to me because they are the people that I get to see sometimes more than my family.

“So of course I care greatly about the relationships that we have, so I appreciate the fact that most of the people here came up to me and welcomed me back to the tour, which for me is already very positive.”

Cover image courtesy of Florin Baltatoiu

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Novak Djokovic Dubai Championships 2022
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