‘I had goosebumps coming into the court playing in front of the fans again,’ says Novak Djokovic

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Novak Djokovic

Having a received a taste of things to come, Novak Djokovic is looking forward to “feeding off that energy” from spectators during the Australian swing.

After a year of disruptions and crowdless tournaments due to the coronavirus, Djokovic as well as other top stars like Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Serena Williams, Ashleigh Barty and Naomi Osaka took part in an exhibition event in front of fans in Adelaide on Friday.

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Next up are the ATP Cup and Australian Open and Djokovic says it will be a major boost to have spectators at those events.

“I had goosebumps coming into the court playing in front of the fans again after 12 months of not experiencing that,” the world No 2 said.

“After playing professional tennis for more than 15 years, this is one of the biggest driving forces or motivations, inspirations that I have, playing in front of a crowd.

“Feeding off that energy, exchanging that great passion and joy that I have for the sport and the fans have for the sport.

“This country has done a great job dealing with this virus. I’m grateful that we have an opportunity to practise, to play and to compete in the sport that we love. We are all excited to be here.”

Both the ATP Cup and Australian Open will take place at Melbourne Park and Djokovic has a love affair with the venue as he has won eight titles at Rod Laver Arena.

“It does feel like a home for me in Australia, in Melbourne, particularly on Rod Laver [Arena]. That is, by far, [the] most successful tennis court in my career…” the 17-time Grand Slam winner said.

“[There are] too many memories, beautiful memories, to pick one that would stand out. Each year that I come back to the court, it feels even better. The more you win obviously on the court, the more confident you feel coming back to it.”

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