Novak Djokovic has confirmed plans to compete in next week’s Paris Masters, and says he is hoping to be told in a few weeks whether he can play in the Australian Open.
The 35-year-old Serbian won his 21st Grand Slam singles title this season at Wimbledon, but has played just ten events and only two of the four majors, since being unvaccinated against coronavirus prevented him from competing in Australia or the United States.
“The positive thing is that I had more time to prepare and work on some elements of the game that usually we tennis players don’t have time to work on due to the tight schedule,” he told Serbia’s Sportal.
Djokovic will now have to get an answer from the Australian government on whether he can play the Australian Open next season. Though unvaccinated individuals are now allowed to enter Australia, Djokovic was ordered to leave the country this year amid controversy about whether he had been eligible to enter with a medical exemption based on having been recently infected, a decision which came with a a three-year ban. An election has also led to a change in the federal government.
Djokovic said his attorneys are talking to officials about having the ban lifted.
“There are some positive signs, but it’s unofficial…they’re in communication with the authorities and government organizations,” he explained. “I hope to have an answer in the next few weeks, so I can prepare properly for the season coming up.”
The nine-time Australian Open champion reiterated that he still wants to compete in Australia, despite being in custody for days and facing scrutiny for the basis of his exemption and apparently not quarantining following a positive test. Organizers of the Australian Open has also received criticism for their role in guiding players about exemptions.
“I want to go there,” said Djokovic. “This time, I am even more motivated and I’m hoping to get a positive answer.”
Currently ranked No. 7, he still plans to play the Paris Masters and the ATP Finals in Turin.
“I feel good,” said Djokovic, who is coming off winning back-to-back titles. “Astana and Tel Aviv, and winning the titles [there], increased my level of self-confidence, and motivation.
“I hope to finish in the best possible way because this season was very unusual.”