Djokovic is back in Australia after extradition scandal 1:03
Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic said he will never forget how it felt to be deported from Australia earlier this year, but said his willingness to return for the 2023 Grand Slam at Melbourne Park shows the depth of feelings that he has for the country.
Djokovic was deported on the eve of the 2022 Australian Open in January for not being vaccinated against covid-19 and received a three-year travel ban from the country.
However, the former world number one's visa ban was lifted in November, opening the way for Djokovic to aim for a 10th Australian Open crown and giving him a chance to tie Rafa Nadal's mark of 22 Grand Slam titles. .
"You can't forget those events, it's one of those things that sticks with you," Djokovic said at his first news conference since returning to Australia.
“It stays with you for the rest of your life.
It's something I've never experienced before and I hope never again, but it's a valuable life experience for me.
“But I have to move on and go back to Australia speaks to how I feel about this country and how I feel playing here,” said the Serbian tennis player.
Novak Djokovic returns to Australia after visa ban saga over his stances on covid vaccine
Djokovic practices ahead of the 2023 Adelaide International as he prepares for the Australian Open. (Sarah Reed/Getty Images)
Djokovic practices ahead of the 2023 Adelaide International as he prepares for the Australian Open.
(Sarah Reed/Getty Images)
Djokovic will prepare for the Australian Open by playing at the Adelaide International starting on January 1 and is expecting a warm reception from the local fans.
“It's a great place and the people in Adelaide, and Australia in general, love tennis, love sports and it's a sporting nation, so I hope there are a lot of people watching and we can have a good time,” Djokovic said.
“I hope everything is positive.
Obviously, it's not something you can predict.
I will do my best to play good tennis and bring good emotions and good feelings to the crowd," she added.
Djokovic said his overall experience in Australia had not been affected by what happened in January.
“What happened 12 months ago was not easy to swallow for a while but at the same time I had to move on.
Those circumstances will not replace what I have experienced in Melbourne and in Australia throughout my entire career," Djokovic said.
“So I come here with positive emotions and I'm really looking forward to playing there.
It has been my favorite Grand Slam, the results prove it”.