Novak Djokovic has confirmed he plans to try and make it back to Melbourne for a tilt at a record-extending tenth Australian Open title.
The Serb attempted to do so in January, but was deported ahead of the 2022 edition after a long-running saga over his Covid-19 vaccination status.
The 34-year-old's visa was revoked by the Australian government despite being granted a medical exemption to play in the year's first Grand Slam as an unvaccinated individual.
'I was watching the Giro and admiring these guys' - Djokovic
Djokovic admitted that false information had been included on his immigration forms, and to knowingly breaking self-isolation rules after testing positive for the coronavirus in December.
Djokovic, currently in the UAE preparing for the Dubai Tennis Championships, has admitted to feeling negative emotions about what he experienced but, opening up on the topic in recent days, declared he is aiming to play once again on Rod Laver Arena, the most successful court of his career.
Talking to Serbia’s state RTS television, the 34-year-old said: “I will always remember it [the Australian Open] for its nice things, because of many unforgettable professional tennis moments and personal ones I experienced in that country.
"Besides everything that happened, I have nothing against the people in Australia. I have a pretty good connection with tennis fans, sport fans and Australia in general – and results itself are proof how I feel every time I go to Australia.
"Of course, this was completely unexpected, with everything that happened and of course it is hard to forget, but I want to return to Australia in the future. I want to play again on Rod Laver Arena."
- Djokovic targeting gold at Paris 2024 Olympics and set to be allowed to play at Italian Open in May
- 'He has written history' - Wawrinka says Nadal is incomparable after Australian Open triumph
- 'We've never been free' - Serena and Venus Williams discuss plans for life after tennis
Djokovic elaborated further on his stance towards vaccination too, revealing the sense of hyper-awareness he feels about putting things in his body and the effect they can have on his performance.
He said: “I would like to play in many tournaments. I am currently in a situation where it doesn’t depend on me. It depends on rules of certain countries in which tournaments are taking place.
"At the moment I know that I can play in Dubai. That is my next challenge. Next tournament. The first tournament this season. The first tournament since this situation in Australia, so I am excited to get back on the tennis court. I train hard, and of course I have a great desire to compete in grand slams and all great ATP tournaments.
"We will see, the rules are constantly changing. I keep an open mind and I am not exclusive. I am trying to understand this whole situation regarding the pandemic and fight against the virus like every other citizen in the world.
"I have information that everyone else has, and I am trying, as professional a sportsman, which was always the case, to triple-check anything that goes into my body and in which way that can affect me.
"If anything changes half a percent, I can feel that.
"Simply, at that top tennis level, every change can produce positive or negative results. I am merely cautious, and I took some time for myself before I make a decision.
“I keep an open mind and, as I said, I am not exclusive. Anything is possible in life. We will see how the situation will develop. I decided at this moment not to do it and I am ready to bear consequences.
“I am ready, as I am ready to admit every mistake, I am ready to bear consequences. That is a decision I made consciously, conscientiously, independently and on my own and I concluded that is better for me.”
- - -
The Olympic Games will return with Paris 2024, live on Eurosport and discovery+.
'Grand Slam is different' - Djokovic feels experience could help in any Alcaraz battle
'World class' - Djokovic storms through to fourth round with 'dominant' win
Share this article