Novak Djokovic news: Dubai Tennis Championships delighted to welcome superstar

Novak Djokovic water break

There will be no hint of the controversy that dogged Novak Djokovic in Australia when he returns to the UAE for the Dubai Tennis Championships.

The five-time champion of the event has not played any competitive tennis this year in the wake of his detention and deportation from Australia.

The UAE does not require visitors to show any proof of vaccination, although visitors must produce a negative result of an RT-PCR test conducted no more than 48 hours before arrival.

Tournament Director Salah Tahlak sees only positives in the addition of Djokovic, even as the debate surrounding his forced withdrawal from the Australian Open rages on.

Tahlak intimated that he had sought assurances from the highest authorities, that Djokovic would be allowed to enter the country and bid to win a sixth championship in Dubai.

“I think it’s great to have him back because he is the number one player in the world,” Tahlak said.

“He has been our former champion and, for this city and this tournament, it’s absolutely great to have him back.

“I think we have to always be positive. Dubai is a positive city. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed is always positive.”

With the entries of Djokovic and former World No 1 Andy Murray confirmed, Talak was delighted to receive the news that the event could be staged at full capacity.

The event was already sold out but organisers say they will release more tickets.

“It’s a great feeling,” Tahlak added.

“We were so happy two days ago when we got an email from the Dubai Sports Council that we are back to 100 per cent instead of 80.

“The tickets are sold out, but we have a few tickets that we kept just in case. So now it’s amazing.”

The main draw of the ATP 500 Dubai Tennis Championships gets underway on Monday 21 February.

Djokovic has also been included in the entry list for Indian Wells in early March but could find himself running afoul of border control agents over his vaccine status.

Indian Wells has a strict vaxxed only policy for fans attending the event, but has deferred the matter of player protocols to the ATP.