Novak Djokovic’s return to Australia comes a little later than expected, after it was confirmed this week that he would not play in the United Cup open season. The Serbian star will be allowed to return to the country in January after visa issued by the Australian government.
However, he will not take part in the new Joint Cup and Serbia will miss out on qualification for the mixed team competition, which will be held from 29 December to 8 January. On Tuesday, officials confirmed that the last two countries to take part in the first tournament would be Bulgaria and Kazakhstan.
‘WHICH MOMENT’: Novak Djokovic’s act infuriated tennis fans
According to reports, Djokovic did not put forward his candidacy for the tournament, which means that Serbia will not participate in the $23 million tournament. Instead, Djokovic is believed to be eyeing the Adelaide International as a starting point for the Australian summer before claiming more Grand Slam glory in the year’s first major.
Djokovic revealed last week that he was “very happy” to receive news of a visa that allows him to fight for a record 10th Australian Open title before it was confirmed in writing. The Serbian star faced a three-year ban from entering the country due to his deportation in early 2022.
“Following the annulment of Mr. Djokovic’s visa in January 2022, all Covid-19 related Australian border restrictions under the Biosecurity Act 2015 have been lifted, including the requirement to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination status to enter Australia,” said Immigration Minister Andrew. Giles said in a statement. “Mr Djokovic was subsequently granted a temporary visa to enter Australia.”
The 35-year-old faced the prospect of being banned from entering Australia until 2025, but expressed his satisfaction that the decision had been overturned. “I was very happy to receive the news yesterday,” Djokovic said.
Performance in Turin at the ATP finalsThe Serb added: “It’s a relief, obviously, knowing what I and the people closest to me have been through in my life this year, with what happened in Australia and post-Australia, obviously. I couldn’t get better news for sure – during this tournament. Also, the Australian Open was my most successful Grand Slam tournament and I left some of the best memories there.
“Of course I want to go back there, I want to play tennis, do what I do best, hopefully have a good Australian summer. I am always grateful for the experience, whatever it may be. be optimistic and positive in life. I’m looking forward to starting the new year in Australia and we’ll see how next year goes.”
Fans expected Djokovic to play for Serbia at the United Cup but were disappointed by his absence from the event, which replaced the previous ATP Cup.
Nick Kyrgios will face Rafa Nadal at the United Cup
Nick Kyrgios prepares for the ultimate clash of blockbusters with defending champion Rafa Nadal after Australia were drawn into the same group with Spain in the first Unified Cup. Alex de Minaur and Jason Kubler were the other men’s singles players named in Australia’s eight-man squad.
But it is Kyrgios who will gain the advantage over Nadal after the Wimbledon finalist took first place in Australia at the end of the year, when de Minaur failed to reach the quarter-finals of the Paris Masters. Under the rules of the United Cup, the players of the two countries will play each other at number 1, with the corresponding players at number 2, as well as two matches in women’s singles, determined on the same basis.
A mixed doubles bout could potentially decide the outcome of five matches. Kyrgios could also pair up with longtime fan Ayla Tomljanovic after the three-time Grand Slam finalist was named the No. 1 woman on the Australian team alongside Zoe Hives, Maddison Inglis and doubles stars Jon Pierce and Sam Stosur.
United Cup officials also announced that women’s world No. 1 Iga Swiatek will be another headliner in the first round of the new summer-opening tournament. Other notable participants include Stefanos Tsitsipas and Maria Sakkari from Greece, world number four from Norway Kasper Ruud, Alexander Zverev from Germany and Belinda Bencic and Stan Wawrinka from Switzerland.
Brisbane, Perth and Sydney will each host two groups of three nations competing in a round robin. The winners of each group will play in the playoffs, while the winners of the cities will advance to the United Cup Final Four, which will be held in Sydney from 6 to 8 January. The next best team from the group stages will complete the quartet.
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