Novak Djokovic is back in Australia but bureaucracy prevented him from being included in the event’s star list

Some of the world’s highest-ranking men and women have been offered the chance to lead the United Cup. For example, Nadal said yes and Spain got a place with a captain of his choice. Swiatek was there, and so was Poland. And on it went.

However, with no guarantees of even returning to the country a few months ago, Djokovic could not be sure of a place in the United Cup. He will start another season in Adelaide before heading to Melbourne. The last night he stayed there he stayed in a modest hotel-turned-immigration detention center.

Novak Djokovic warming up in Adelaide on Wednesday.

Novak Djokovic warming up in Adelaide on Wednesday.Credit:Getty

News of his arrival was well received by his Sydney peers as he prepares to chase a 10th Australian Open title at Melbourne Park next month. If anyone had reason to hope Djokovic wouldn’t return to his favorite pitch, it was Nadal. The Spanish veteran is one ahead of Djokovic on the all-time Grand Slam list. The smart money is on the Serbian draw level until the end of the AO.

“Novak is here,” Nadal said. “[It’s] good for tennis. Good for probably the fans. Let’s see, no? [The] The best players on the pitch always win.”

Djokovic was usually that in Australia. The country and the rest of the world have gone well beyond vaccination mandates. But that doesn’t mean that last year’s Djokovic saga won’t be popping up in the coming weeks.

“Of course that was a big topic last year,” said Kvitova. “People probably don’t know the inside [story] from what happened last year. But it’s great that he’s back here because he’s a great player. I think it’s great for tennis that he’s back in the big competitions. It’s great to have the best.”

How will the fans react to him? Djokovic is a polarizing figure at best, long before the vaccine firestorm. Its noisy Serbian students will be in effect, but the Australian public is still scarred by tortuous lockdowns that will be the barometer.

“I have a lot of faith in the Australian public,” Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley said on Tuesday. “We are a very well educated sports audience, especially those who come to tennis.


“They love their tennis, they love to see greatness, they love to see great sportsmanship and great games. And I’m very confident that the fans will react in the way we hope they would react and have respect for that.”

Watch the United Cup live and free on 9Network – Channel 9 and 9Gem. Every game is broadcast live 9Now.

Sports news, scores and expert commentary. Sign up for our sports newsletter. Novak Djokovic is back in Australia but bureaucracy prevented him from being included in the event’s star list

Ryan Sederquist

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