Novak Djokovic admits he will play anywhere that will have him

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‘I really can’t choose right now… I will have to follow the rules’: Novak Djokovic admits his options are limited as he searches for tournaments to compete in, with world No 1 preparing to return to the tennis court in Dubai

  • Novak Djokovic claims he will play in any tournament that allows him
  • The world No 1 is due to play in the Dubai Duty Free Championships this week 
  • The Serb will not be able to play in the US or Europe under current guidelines 


Novak Djokovic returns to the tennis court in Dubai on Monday evening, admitting that he will currently play anywhere that will have him.

The world No 1 faces Italian wildcard Lorenzo Musetti at the Dubai Duty Free Championships, one of the few places where it is currently straightforward for him to participate.

Ahead of playing his first match since early December, Djokovic confirmed that his options are limited under the present restrictions.

World No 1 Novak Djokovic said he will play in any tournament that allows him to this year

World No 1 Novak Djokovic said he will play in any tournament that allows him to this year

‘I will have to follow the rules,’ he said. ‘Whatever tournament I’m able to play I will be trying to get to the country and play the tournament.’

Covid restrictions mean the US and much of Europe will not allow unvaccinated players like him to play in their events. ‘I really can’t choose right now, it’s about where I can go and play,’ he added.

‘I’m not intending to play a full schedule but also that wasn’t my intention prior to this season.’

Djokovic said he had been back practising since the beginning of February, having retreated to Belgrade after being thrown out of Australia.

The Serb has caused controversy in recent weeks following his refusal to get vaccinated

The Serb has caused controversy in recent weeks following his refusal to get vaccinated 

Since arriving in Dubai, he insisted that he had 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 little bit strange.’

Djokovic could lose the world No 1 spot by the end of the week, and definitely will if Daniil Medvedev wins the concurrent tournament in Mexico. Andy Murray takes part in the curtain-raiser for tonight’s match, facing Australian qualifier Chris O’Connell in the first round. Dan Evans is also in the field.

Emma Raducanu also returns this week, playing the WTA 250 event in Mexico. The top seed, she faces Australia’s Daria Saville (formerly Gavrilova) in the opening round in her first match since the Australian Open.

Djokovic (above) will not be able to compete in the US or in Europe under current guidelines

Djokovic (above) will not be able to compete in the US or in Europe under current guidelines

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