Djokovic set for return in Dubai after missing Aussie Open

World number one Novak Djokovic is set to make his return to action in Dubai next month.
The 34-year-old was deported from Australia on the eve of the Australian Open after losing a court bid to overturn his visa cancellation.

The 20-time Grand Slam winner is on the entry list for the Dubai ATP Tour event, which begins on 21 February.

Entrants to Dubai, where the Serb is a five-time winner, do not need to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
Tennis Australia said it “deeply regrets” the impact Djokovic’s deportation saga had on players at the Australian Open, as the focus on the 2021 champion’s fate overshadowed the build-up to this year’s tournament.

Djokovic was initially granted a medical exemption to enter Australia by two independent health panels after testing positive for coronavirus in mid-December, however the Australian Border Force detained him for not meeting federal Covid requirements.

Meanwhile, Matteo Berrettini will take on Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open semifinals on Friday looking to take a step closer to his first Grand Slam title and deny his opponent a record 21st major crown.

In the other semifinal, US Open champion Daniil Medvedev will play Stefanos Tsitsipas as he bids to become the first man in the Open era to claim a second Grand Slam title immediately after his maiden triumph.

Berrettini lost to Nadal in straight sets in their only previous meeting in the semi-finals of the US Open in 2019, but the Italian — who reached last year’s Wimbledon final — said that he had more belief in his ability now.

“I really want to win this match. I know I can… It’s going to be a really tough one, but I’m in the semis of a Slam for the third time, so it means this is my level,” said Berrettini, who aims to become the first Italian to win the Australian Open.

Tsitsipas has his eyes set on becoming the first Greek Grand Slam champion, but the French Open finalist will need to be at his best to defeat an indefatigable Medvedev, who saved a matchpoint to get past Felix Auger-Aliassime in the quarters.
Tsitsipas has lost six of his eight matches with Russia’s Medvedev, including a semi-final defeat at Melbourne Park last year, but he said after his quarter-final demolition of Jannik Sinner that he was firmly “in the zone” this time around.