Novak Djokovic admits he’s worried about the reception he’ll face in Australia after last year’s deportation… but the Tennis Australia supremo remains confident the fans will welcome him
- Novak Djokovic admits he is worried about the reception he will face in Australia
- The Serb star was sensationally deported from the country a year ago
- Tennis Australia boss is confident Djokovic will be welcomed in Australia
Novak Djokovic is back in Australia after being deported last year – and the controversial star has admitted he is worried about the kind of reception he will receive from the crowd at the Australian Open.
The 35-year-old Serb landed in Adelaide earlier this week where he will open his Australian campaign at the Adelaide International.
A year ago The Joker was kicked out of the country for entering Australia while unvaccinated, and was subsequently hit with a three-year ban.
Novak Djokovic (pictured) is back in Australia after being deported a year ago – and the controversial star admitted he was worried about the kind of reception he would get from the crowd at the Australian Open
The 35-year-old Serb (pictured) was in Adelaide earlier this week where he will open his Australian campaign at the Adelaide International
The 21-time Grand Slam winner has been granted a visa by the Australian government, but told Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley he was concerned he might get a negative crowd response while playing.
‘We talked about (a possible negative crowd reaction) and he, as any athlete, would be concerned about it,’ Tiley told News Corp.
A year ago ‘The Joker’ (Novak, pictured) was deported from the country for entering Australia while unvaccinated, and was subsequently hit with a three-year ban.
‘But it’s one where he’s just doing the best he can as a player. There is a lot of respect for him as a player, as an athlete, and what he has achieved in the game and continues to achieve.
‘And I think the Australian public and community appreciate that.’
Public reaction to the polarizing star was mixed in Australia last January – and the question mark still lingers over whether locals will accept him.
Tiley believes the nine-time Australian Open champion will be treated well when he performs Down Under.
Public reaction to the polarizing star was mixed in Australia in January – and question marks still linger over whether locals will welcome him.
‘With Novak, I have a lot of confidence about the Australian community, the sports community, they appreciate when they watch a nine-time champion, a great player,’ said Tiley.
‘He will come into 2022 having the best finish to the season of any male player and he will be hard to beat.
‘I’m hoping for that confidence and you know, whatever happens, happens but I think there’s going to be a lot of appreciation for him coming back and playing the kind of tennis he’s been playing.’
Djokovic told reporters in Dubai last week that he would love to travel to Australia.
Djokovic pictured after defeating Daniil Medvedev in the 2021 Australian Open final
‘Over the years I’ve been really lucky to start very strong in Australia and I want to play there,’ said Djokovic.
‘After obviously what happened earlier this year, hopefully I’ll have a decent reception there and hopefully that will help me play good tennis.’
The Serb ace will unfortunately not feature in this year’s United Cup, as when entries for the tournament were taken he was still banned by the Australian government.
Instead, he is taking part in the Adelaide International as part of his Open preparation.
The Australian Open will run from January 16-29 in Melbourne.