Novak Djokovic eager to return to Dubai after vaccine controversy | Tennis News

DUBAI: World number one Novak Djokovic said he missed playing tennis on Thursday as he prepared for his return to Dubai after the row over the coronavirus vaccine prevented him from defending his title at the Australian Open.
The Serb, who was expelled from Australia due to his vaccination status, visited the Serbian pavilion at Expo Dubai, removing his black mask on request and writing a lengthy message in the guestbook.
“I’m delighted to be back playing on Monday,” he said, referring to the Dubai ATP tournament during brief remarks to the media. “I miss tennis after everything that’s happened.”
The 20-time Grand Slam winner has kept a low profile since being sent off last month over his potentially career-changing decision not to take the coronavirus vaccine.
Spanish rival Rafael Nadal won the Australian Open in Melbourne to become the first player to win 21 major titles, one ahead of Djokovic and Roger Federer.
This week Djokovic told the BBC he was not anti-vaccination but was ready to miss more major tournaments because of his refusal to get shot.
“Yes, that’s the price I’m willing to pay,” he said.
“I was ready not to go to Australia. I understand that I didn’t get vaccinated today, I can’t go to most tournaments at the moment,” added Djokovic.
A coronavirus vaccine is not required to enter the United Arab Emirates, which announced 895 new cases on Thursday.

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