Novak Djokovic on course for Tuesday return as he practices ‘pain-free’

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic has enjoyed ‘pain-free’ hit outs ahead of his return to ATP Tour competition in Dubai on Tuesday.

Djokovic has not played since winning his tenth Australian Open title back in January.

During his Aussie Open swing, Djokovic picked up an injury to his left hamstring, but it wouldn’t stop him from winning his 22nd Grand Slam title.

His win was enough to ensure that he has become the person with the most weeks ranked as world No 1, breaking a record held by Steffi Graf.

Djokovic has not received an update on the status of his application for an exemption to vaccination requirements on US visitor’s visas.

“In terms of the process in America, no, I have not received anything new comparing to what I said to the media in Belgrade some days ago. Right now it’s the same situation,” he said.

Uncertainty about his March schedule aside, Djokovic makes another return in Dubai which saw his first action of the 2022 campaign.

This time Djokovic is returning from an injury rather than an immigration and visa nightmare and subsequent media storm.

Although his injury has been the subject of something of a media feeding frenzy with plenty of players, pundits and commentators willing to have their say on the nature and severity of the problem.

It seems now that the injury is completely behind Djokovic, and he feels that he is becoming comfortable on court once more.

“Had a couple of weeks of no tennis. The last few days it’s really getting as much practice as possible to get myself back in shape to be able to compete at a high level,” Djokovic said, according to Reuters.

“I haven’t felt pain on the court for a week. I’m getting closer to 100%. Still not there in terms of the game and how I feel on court. But the important thing is there’s no pain. I don’t have a hindrance in the way I move on the court.

“After every injury it takes time for mechanisms to be balanced, for adjustments to be done on court. It takes time to find that groove of moving effortlessly and not thinking about if something’s going to happen. I don’t have those thoughts.”

Djokovic heads into the Dubai Tennis Championships having marked his 378th week as world No 1 on Monday.

He is set to set headline Tuesday’s afternoon session at the Aviation Club Tennis Centre when he takes on Czech Tomas Machac.

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