Oviri Kelvin, Sports Editor, Abuja
World number one, Novak Djokovic, returned from his break, after the saga with the Australian authorities over his refusal to be vaccinated, to win the Dubai Tennis Championship.
Djokovic, who was denied entry to compete in the Australian Open that the Spain Rafa Nadal won, said it was a remarkable experience to come back into the game with a win in Dubai.
The Serbian became the focal point of every media reportage when on the 16 of January, his refusal to take the covid-19 vaccine was met with a stiff penalty by the Australian authorities.
After seeing off Italian Lorenzo Musetti 6-3 6-3 to claim the Dubai Duty Free Championship, Djokovic while thanking the crowd affirmed that the best place to return to the game was Dubai
He said, “I couldn’t pick a better place to kick start the season – it was the best possible experience tonight.
“All in all, it’s a straight-set win so, of course, I have to be satisfied, especially after not playing for two and a half, almost three months,” he added.
Djokovic, celebrating in front of the crowd, became emotional after winning the contest saying that in the heat of the battle, certain hitches make one frustrated in the game while that moment permits one to react accordingly.
He said, “It’s always in the heat of the battle, the atmosphere where you need to get that energy out. Sometimes you are frustrated with yourself, your game, the things that are happening.”
“I’m very thankful for that because having the kind of an understanding at least, I would say, if not support from my peers and my colleagues, is very important to me because they are the people that I get to see sometimes more than my family.
“I care greatly about the relationships that we have,” he added.
The world number one, who may lose his place in the Men’s Tennis ATP ranking to second-placed Russian Daniil Medvedev, could miss out in the March 7th Indian Wells tournament which is strictly for vaccinated players based on his continued refusal to take the covid-19 vaccine.
Meanwhile, the Men’s singles world number 89 in the ATP ranking, British Andy Murray, after his win against Christopher O’Connell, said it will be much easier for Djokovic if he receives the vaccine.
He said that the decision taken by the Serbian is not good for the development of tennis, noting that the consequences are the resultant effect of not being allowed to compete in major tennis tournaments.
He said, “But I also didn’t like seeing him in the situation that he was in Australia as someone that I respect and have known since I was a child.
“There are consequences to the decisions he’s made just now – he obviously has to accept that. But I don’t think it’s great for tennis if our best player is not competing in the major events,” he added.