Djokovic 'emotional' after warm welcome at Melbourne Park

The tennis star received a three-year travel ban for the country for not being vaccinated against COVID-19, when he arrived for the 2022 Australian Open in last January

Reuters
Published : 14 Jan 2023, 04:56 AM
Updated : 14 Jan 2023, 04:56 AM

Novak Djokovic said he felt "emotional" following a warm reception from fans upon his return to Melbourne Park for a practice match against Nick Kyrgios on Friday.

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 for the country.

However, the former world number one's visa ban was waived in November, opening up a path for Djokovic to target a 10th Australian Open crown and giving him a chance to equal Rafa Nadal's mark of 22 Grand Slam titles.

"I'm very happy, thank you so much," Djokovic said before the match, to loud cheers from the crowd.

"I feel a bit emotional right now, to be honest. I was really looking forward to coming back to this court, so thank you all, guys, for coming out tonight for a great cause."

Djokovic and Kyrgios won a shortened set apiece in the practice match, before playing a tiebreaker alongside wheelchair players David Wagner and Heath Davidson as well as two juniors.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher