Novak Djokovic has revealed the Adelaide International will mark his first tournament in Australia following the scrapping of his three-year ban from entering the country.
Djokovic will compete in the Australian Open, beginning on January 16, after immigration minister Andrew Giles abolished the ban imposed on him when he was deported this year over his refusal to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Djokovic will fine-tune his preparation for the Melbourne Park grand slam by competing in the Adelaide International from January 2.
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The Serbian champion will then shoot for his 10th Australian Open title and record-equalling 22nd grand slam victory.
Speaking on 2GB’s Wide World of Sports radio in November, Australian tennis great Todd Woodbridge lauded the decision to overturn Djokovic’s ban.
“I think that’s the best scenario for the tournament because we want the best players playing at the Australian Open,” Woodbridge said.
“What goes into the Open in terms of the build-up, prizemoney, what it does to our reputation around the world — we want the very best to be allowed to come here and allowed to play.
“And given the fact that Novak has won it nine times, he goes into it now as a heavy favourite after not being allowed to play this year.”
Rafael Nadal conquered this year’s Australian Open to push beyond Djokovic and Roger Federer, before moving to 22 titles when he won Roland-Garros.
But Djokovic, who didn’t compete in this year’s Australian Open because of his deportation on the eve of the tournament, closed the gap on Nadal to one when he triumphed at Wimbledon.
In Djokovic’s most recent appearance, the world No.5 beat Casper Ruud in the decider of the ATP Finals in Turin, Italy in November, defeating the Norwegian 7-5, 6-3.
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