Novak Djokovic news: Serbian on ‘positive’ welcome in Dubai – ‘I can’t say that was the case in Australia’

ATP Tour
Novak Djokovic presser

Novak Djokovic has revealed that his peers have been “positive and welcoming” ahead of his return to action, which is a far cry from how he was treated in Australia.

The 20-time Grand Slam winner will make his comeback at the Dubai Tennis Championships on Monday as he will play in his first competitive match since his controversial deportation from Australia.

Djokovic admitted in an interview last week that the “energy and those looks” from his fellow players “really hurt me a lot”.

Novak Djokovic news: World No 1 says reaction and ‘looks’ from fellow tennis players ‘really hurt me a lot’

However, it was a totally different experience for the world No 1 in Dubai the past few days.

“So far here most of the players that I’ve seen have been positive and welcoming,” he said.

“It’s nice to see obviously. I can’t say that was the case in Australia. It was a little bit strange. But here it’s well so far.”

The 34-year-old will take on Lorenzo Musetti in his opening match of the ATP 500 event on Monday and it will be his first match since the Davis Cup Finals in December.

Djokovic revealed that the Dubai entry kept him going during the past few weeks.

“Knowing I was coming to Dubai, I had something to work for, I had a goal,” he said. “So now that I’m here I could say that I am as well-prepared as I possibly can be and I’m excited to, again, be on the tour. That’s all I’m feeling at the moment.”

He added: “Of course there were lots of emotions after I came back from Australia, so I needed a bit of time to reflect and to just mentally rest and then once I was refreshed I was looking forward to play tennis and compete.”