Novak Djokovic news: Serbian arrives in Dubai for Duty Free Tennis Championship

The World No.1 will feature in Duty Free Tennis Championships after being deported from Australia ahead of the first Grand Slam of the Year.

World No 1 men's tennis player Novak Djokovic; Credit: Twitter/@DjokerNole

World No.1 Novak Djokovic arrived in Dubai on Thursday to participate at the Duty Free Tennis Championship after being detained twice and deported from Australia ahead of the first Grand Slam of the year. The unvaccinated tennis superstar was deported ahead of his title defence at the Australian Open 2022 as his medical exemption was not valid enough to participate at the Grand Slam. It was a hard toil for Djokovic ever since he landed in Australia with the medical exemption. His visa was revoked for the second-time after his bid to participate at the Australian Open was granted by the Federal Court on Monday following which he was deported.

“The government is firmly committed to protecting Australia’s borders. Particularly in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic,” Australian immigration minister Alex Hawke said in a statement. He cited “health and good order grounds” for the decision. He added, “It was in the public interest to do so”.

He, however, admitted that the time away from court has made him miss tennis badly and he is looking forward to all the action in the United Arab Emirates. 

“I’m excited to go out on the tennis court next Monday,” he said when asked by The Associated Press how he feels after the recent twists and turns of the legal dispute over his travel visa. “I miss tennis honestly after everything that has happened.”

Novak Djokovic keeps ‘open mind’ about vaccination 

Djokovic has maintained his firm stand on his unvaccinated status. He had said this week that he would skip the French Open, Wimbledon and other tournaments if he was required to get a coronavirus vaccine to compete. He, however, told Serbia’s state RTS television on Thursday that he keeps an open mind about the vaccination and nothing is exclusive. 

“I am not exclusive, anything is possible in life,” he said. “I decided at this moment not to do it and I am ready to bear consequences.”

The government of Dubai doesn’t have a mandate against unvaccinated tourists and thus Djokovic will be free to participate at the event starting from next week. He visited the pavilion on Thursday amid a sea full of journalists and fans who clapped and chanted his name. 

“I’m proud to be on this stage,” Djokovic said after his wife Jelena gave a presentation about the foundation’s work with children.

He also visited the Expo 2020 in his downtime ahead of the tournament. 

READ MORE: Who is Novak Djokovic’s wife? Know all about Yelena Djokovic

Sportslumo Desk

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