For his return to Australia, after his expulsion in 2022 because of his non-vaccinated status against Covid-19, the Serb Novak Djokovic was triumphantly welcomed in Adelaide, the first stage before Melbourne, for the first Grand Slam of the year.
Serbia’s Novak Djokovic was given a warm welcome at the Adelaide tournament on Monday for his first official match in Australia since the drama of his expulsion from the country last year due to his unvaccinated status against Covid-19.
The 21-time Grand Slam champion made his debut in a doubles match with Canadian Vasek Pospisil, which ended in a three-set loss to specialists Tomislav Brkic and Gonzalo Escobar. But the main thing was elsewhere for “Nole”.
Applause, cheers to the rhythm of “Novak, Novak”, then selfies and autographs at the exit, Djokovic, currently 5th in the ATP rankings, received a particularly enthusiastic welcome. Although the Serbian flags in the crowded stands showed the presence of many compatriots, the 35-year-old player seemed to be unanimous.
A world away from the treatment he received a year ago from the authorities after he tried to circumvent the vaccination requirement then in force in this country. This episode led to his deportation after a stay in a detention center, criticism from the local political class and a court case.
Djokovic also received a three-year ban, but that was lifted with a change of government in Australia. Upon his arrival in the country last week, “Djoko,” who will be seeking his 22nd Grand Slam title in Melbourne this month (Jan. 16-29), admitted he would never forget the experience, but said he wanted to “move on.
The Serb will make his singles debut on Tuesday in Adelaide against Frenchman Constant Lestienne.
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