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Djokovic confirms Australia Open preparation



NINE-TIME Australian Open champion, Novak Djokovic has revealed he will play the Adelaide International before a return to Melbourne a year after his controversial deportation.

  Djokovic will begin his Australian Open assault at the Adelaide International after the 21-time major champion was confirmed as part of a quality field to compete from January 1.

 The Serbian, detained and then deported by authorities ahead of the Australian Open earlier this year because of his vaccination status, will be allowed back into the country after being granted a visa by the Australian government.

  ‘I think that’s the best scenario for the tournament because we want the best players playing at the Australian Open,’ said Aussie Tennis legend, Todd Woodbridge on 2GB.

  ‘What goes into the Open in terms of the build-up, prizemoney, what it does to our reputation around the world — we want the very best to be allowed to come here and allowed to play.

  ‘And given the fact that Novak has won it nine times, he goes into it now as a heavy favourite after not being allowed to play this year.’

  But the World No. 5 won’t play at the inaugural United Cup after Serbia failed to qualify for the teams event, instead starting his year at The Drive in Adelaide.

  World No. 6 Felix Auger-Aliassime, No. 7 Daniil Medvedev, No. 8 Andrey Rublev, No. 15 Jannik Sinner, and two-time Wimbledon champion, Andy Murray will also feature.

  The combined WTA 500 and ATP 250 tournament will also welcome four of the world’s top 10 women – Ons Jabeur, Aryna Sabalenka, Daria Kasatkina and Veronika Kudermetova.

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  Djokovic will then shoot for his 10th Australian Open title and record-equaling 22nd grand slam victory when action begins at Melbourne Park on January 16.

  But they’ll have to get through Carlos Alcaraz, the Spanish 19-year-old finishing the year as the youngest ever World No. 1.

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