Novak Djokovic Miami Open 2019

‘I’ve missed tennis’ – Novak Djokovic excited to make long-awaited return for first time this year

After missing the Australian Open in controversial fashion, Novak Djokovic is eager to make his return in Dubai next week and is content with what he has achieved in his career thus far.

20-time Grand Slam legend Djokovic was deported from Australia just one day before the Australian Open got underway. As such, Slam rival Rafael Nadal pipped him to a record-breaking 21st Major title.

As he fought the cancellation of his medical exemption visa in court, it was revealed in the legal proceedings that he was unvaccinated against Covid-19.

Whilst he had his visa reinstated, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke vetoed the court’s ruling and terminated the visa once and for all.

However, this was not done because Djokovic was unvaccinated but was instead done on the grounds that he may spark anti-vaccine sentiment had he been allowed to compete.

Djokovic has recently said in a tell-all interview with the BBC that he “completely disagrees” with the reasonings and has said he was “disappointed and upset” with how the events transpired.

In the same interview, the Serbian icon said he is willing to “sacrifice Slams” should vaccines be made mandatory for entry.

He is set to make his first appearance of the year at the Dubai Tennis Championships, an event where vaccination is not required to compete.

Djokovic will compete alongside reigning champion Aslan Karatsev, three-time Slam champion Andy Murray and top ten players Andrey Rublev, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Jannik Sinner as he vies to protect his World number one spot from World number two Daniil Medvedev.

Speaking ahead of the Dubai tournament, Djokovic said “I always love Dubai. [I] love coming here.

“I have had plenty of tennis success [here] and I am excited to go out on the tennis court next Monday.

“I missed tennis honestly after everything that has happened (Australian Open deportation saga) in the previous couple of months and of course, the purpose of the visit today to the [Dubai 2022] expo is promoting our foundation’s work.”

Djokovic also said that he is content and extremely happy with his achievements. He said “I found happiness in life because I stayed in the sport that I truly love with my entire heart.

“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.”

? Free >> Receive our legendary newsletter

Join >> Tennishead CLUB, the world’s only virtual tennis club

? Social >>Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & YouTube

? Order >> World’s best tennis magazine

? Shop >> Lowest price tennis gear from our trusted retail partner

Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.