INTERNATIONAL: Novak Djokovic was looking forward to kick-starting his 2022 season in Dubai ollowing his deportation from Australia, and has said he would be the first to congratulate U.S. Open champion Danil Medvedev if the Russian ends his two-year reign at the top of the world rankings this week.
The 34-year-old Serbian will play competitively on Monday,February 21, for the first time this year in his opening Dubai Duty Free Championships match against Italy's Lorenzo Musetti, ranked 57th in the world.
Djokovic has told reporters on Sunday, February 20, during a press conference that he after considering what he have been through the last months he is even more motivated and inspired to go out on the court and play his best tennis.
He is chasing his 6th tournament win in Dubai, he has resumed training about 10 days after he was deported from Australia and had been playing tennis for the past three weeks.
The world number one, who is not vaccinated against Covid-19, was flown out of Australia after an 11-day ordeal, at the discretion of the country's immigration minister over concerns the tennis star could fuel anti-vax sentiment.
Djokovic has said that he is not an anti-vaxxer and that his refusal to be vaccinated stems from uncertainty over how a coronavirus vaccination could affect his playing performance.
World number two Medvedev, who is playing in the Mexican Open this month, could dethrone Djokovic depending on how well each player performs in their respective tournaments.
"Eventually it's going to happen and if it happens this week, I'll be the first one to congratulate him," Djokovic has said.
Medvedev was runner-up in last month's Australian Open.