Novak Djokovic to return in Dubai despite lingering injury
Novak Djokovic has announced his return to ATP Tour action at next week’s Dubai Tennis Championships.
Djokovic was unable to provide any additional updates on his status regarding travel to the United States for the Sunshine Double.
The World No 1 travels to the United Arab Emirates still carrying an injury but nearing full fitness.
“I’m not at 100 percent yet, but I’m getting closer. That’s why we made the decision together that I’m going to Dubai, I’m travelling tomorrow,” Djokovic told reporters according to quotes translated from Serbian into English by Ubitennis.
“Ambitions are always the highest, regardless of the tournament.”
Djokovic revealed that he has the backing of tournament directors in Miami and Indian Wells but is still awaiting feedback from immigration officials on his application for exemption to the vaccine requirement for entry to the United States by air.
“I am waiting for an answer, I would like to go, but it is not in my hands,” he said.
“I’m getting ready, but we’ll see in the next two weeks how things go. I’m glad I got the support of the tournament directors in Indian Wells and Miami. I hope the third party (American authorities) will give a positive response, that’s all I can say.”
Djokovic believes that there might be a silver lining to missing the twin ATP 1000 events in the US as he might get better preparation for the clay season with Roland Garros now his main focus.
“Last year, for the first few months, I didn’t compete at all, not because of me and my health problems, but because of other reasons. This year everything started great but we’ll see. It (2023) started differently, I won Australia and I have a lot of self-confidence, so even if America doesn’t happen I’ll be in good shape,” Djokovic explained.
“I’ll have more time to prepare for clay, the most demanding surface. Nadal is the best player in history on that surface, I not bad either, and this year I will try to start the season better on clay, which was not the case in recent years.”
“The ultimate goal is always Roland Garros. I’m not sure what (other events) I’ll play on clay yet, but I know I’ll definitely play Monte Carlo and Banja Luka.”
Djokovic added that he isn’t thinking about retirement at all right now.
“I don’t have a final number and a limit to which I will play, although people automatically start after 30 to ask the question in all sports when is the end. Me, Federer and Nadal have often encountered those questions since we passed 30,” he said.
“(The) hunger is still present, although I would characterize it more as a passion for sports and a desire for competition. I like to play tennis recreationally with my son, and with the children. It’s not that I have an aversion to tennis because it takes up a large part of my life, but professionally I have the desire to continue to record historical results.”
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