Djokovic will “become the player to beat again”, judges the director of the Australian Open
Novak Djokovic will make his comeback in Australia, a year after his setbacks and his ban on playing due to his refusal to be vaccinated against Covid-19. The Serb arrived in Australia on Tuesday, a return that satisfies Australian Open director Craig Tiley who believes that Novak Djokovic will “become the player to beat again”.
“We welcome him to Australia,” said the boss of the first Grand Slam tournament of the year (January 15-29 in Melbourne). “I think as we speak he lands in Adelaide and I think he’s going to be the player to beat again,” Craig Tiley followed.
On track for the Adelaide tournament
The Australian federation then confirmed that the Serb had set foot on national soil.
As part of his preparation for the Australian Open, Djokovic, currently 5th in the world, will play the Adelaide tournament, starting on Sunday.
The Serb was deprived of the 2022 edition of the Australian Open after being expelled from the country because of his vaccination status. Not vaccinated against Covid-19, he had tried to return to the territory with a refused declination and had been expelled just before the start of the tournament after spending several days in a detention center and an appeal to justice.
He had also been slapped with a three-year inadmissibility.
Australian Open favorites
But the vaccination requirement was lifted in Australia and Djokovic, 35, obtained his visa after his travel ban was lifted in November.
The former world number 1, winner of five titles in 2022, including Wimbledon, is a favorite for the Australian Open, which he has won nine times.
“In the past, I always had the chance to start my years in Australia very strong and I like playing here,” said Friday in Dubai “Djoko” who won a total of 21 Grand Slam titles. “After what happened last year, I hope that I will be properly accommodated and that it will help me to play my best tennis,” he added.