‘I really can’t choose at the moment…I’ll have to follow the rules’: Novak Djokovic admits his options are limited as he searches for tournaments to participate in, world No.1 preparing to return to the court Dubai tennis court.
- Novak Djokovic says he will play in any tournament that allows him
- The world number 1 is due to play this week at the Dubai Duty Free Championships
- The Serbian will not be able to play in the United States or Europe under current guidelines
Novak Djokovic returns to the Dubai tennis court on Monday night, admitting he will currently play anywhere that has him.
The world No. 1 takes on Italian wildcard Lorenzo Musetti at the Dubai Duty Free Championships, one of the few places where it is currently easy for him to compete.
Ahead of playing his first game since early December, Djokovic confirmed his options are limited under the current restrictions.
World number 1 Novak Djokovic has said he will play in any tournament that allows him this year
“I’m going to have to follow the rules,” he said. “Whatever tournament I can play in, I will try to go to the country and play the tournament.”
Covid restrictions mean the US and much of Europe won’t allow unvaccinated players like him to play in their events. “I really can’t choose at the moment, it’s all about where I can go and play,” he added.
“I don’t intend to play a full schedule, but that wasn’t my intention before this season either.”
Djokovic said he has been back in training since early February, having retired to Belgrade after being kicked out of Australia.
The Serb has sparked controversy in recent weeks following his refusal to be vaccinated
Since arriving in Dubai, he has insisted he has so far received a better reception in the locker room than in Melbourne. “Most of the players have been welcoming,” said the 34-year-old. “I can’t say that was the case in Australia, it was a bit strange.”
Djokovic could lose the world number 1 spot by the end of the week, and will certainly do so if Daniil Medvedev wins the simultaneous tournament in Mexico. Andy Murray takes part in the curtain-raiser for tonight’s match against Australian qualifier Chris O’Connell in the first round. Dan Evans is also on the field.
Emma Raducanu also returns this week, playing the WTA 250 event in Mexico. The number one seed, she faces Australian Daria Saville (formerly Gavrilova) in the first round of her first match since the Australian Open.
Djokovic (above) will not be able to compete in the United States or Europe under current guidelines