As reported by Tennis World, Novak Djokovic is back to play and win at the ATP in Dubai. The world number 1 made his seasonal debut by beating Lorenzo Musetti in two quick sets, who had forced him into an authentic marathon last year at the Roland Garros.
For the Serbian champion it was the first official appearance in 2022, having been unable to participate in the Australian Open due to the well-known vaccination issue. The 20-time Grand Slam champion was expelled from the country a few hours before the Happy Slam began, after Immigration Minister Alex Hawke decided to exercise his discretion for reasons of public order.
As if that weren't enough, the 34-year-old from Belgrade had to watch helplessly as Rafael Nadal's triumph in Melbourne Park. Thanks to this victory, the Spaniard overtook Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic to reach 21 Majors.
The choice not to get vaccinated risks compromising Nole's season, given the recent news from the United States and France. In a press conference, Novak Djokovic admitted that his participation in the Masters 1000 in Indian Wells and Miami is very unlikely.
He said: "As of today I cannot enter the US, so I am unable to play. Let's see what happens. I mean, maybe things will change in the next few weeks. We exchanged a few messages after the Australian Open final. I was very sorry when he said the baby had stopped dreaming.
Many of us take the racket as children and fall in love with tennis hoping to get the most that the sport can offer us. It's not easy to digest a two-set defeat above, but I'm sure he'll treasure it. I wish him the best, he is a great champion and will soon become number one.
The Serbian also praised Rafael Nadal: "Four or five months before the AO he was on crutches. He has achieved a truly memorable feat. The fact that I wasn't there doesn't detract from his victory."
Djokovic: "Vaccine? Let's see in the future"
Novak Djokovic said during an interview granted to RTS: "I'd like to play a lot of tournaments, but it's not up to me.
Everything will depend on the measures taken by the different countries in which the tournaments are played. At the moment I know that I can play in Dubai. Now this is my goal: the first tournament of the season. The first tournament since what happened in Australia.
I am really happy to be back on a tennis court. I am training hard and I have a great desire to compete in the Grand Slams and in all the big ATP tournaments. We'll see, as I said, the rules change all the time. I will evaluate each individual case.
I am trying to understand how the pandemic evolves and to fight the virus like any other citizen of the world. I have the information that everyone has and I am trying as a sportsman, as I always have, to control well what enters my body and how it can affect me.
If something changes even a little, my body feels it. Quite simply, at these levels, any change can produce positive or negative results. I am cautious and took some time for myself before making a final decision. Vaccine? In life everything is possible.
Never say never. I do not rule out doing it. We will see the developments. For now I have decided not to do it and I am ready to accept the consequences. It is a decision that I made in a conscious and independent way." Novak Djokovic has publicly taken on the responsibilities of his choice not to get vaccinated against Covid-19 and admitted that his programming will depend, for the moment, on the regulations in force in each country.
After months of controversy and waiting, the Serbian champion will finally be able to make the pitch talk again, because his participation in the Dubai tournament is now official. Djokovic will have to win the ATP 500 event and hope that Daniil Medvedev will not do the same in Acapulco to maintain the top position in the world rankings.
Considering that the Belgrade will not have the opportunity to take the field in many tournaments, the fate is in the hands of the Russian player. By expressing his opinion on vaccines once again, Djokovic nevertheless delivered an important message, which many media outlets have deliberately decided not to convey.
Indeed, the Serbian champion has not completely ruled out the possibility of undergoing the vaccine in the future. Now, in the meanwhile, Nole will play in Dubai.