Djokovic arrives in Dubai after deportation from Australia

17 January 2022, 11:01 am
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Novak Djokovic arrived early Monday in Dubai after his deportation from Australia over its required Covid-19 vaccination ended the No. 1-ranked men’s tennis player’s hopes of defending his Australian Open title.

The Emirates plane carrying Djokovic touched down after a 13 1/2-hour flight from Melbourne, where he had argued in court he should be allowed to stay in the country and compete in the tournament under a medical exemption due to a coronavirus infection last month.

It wasn’t immediately clear where he planned to travel next. The Dubai Duty Free tennis tournament, which Djokovic won in 2020, doesn’t start until February 14.

Dubai, the commercial capital of the United Arab Emirates, doesn’t require travellers to be vaccinated, though they must show a negative PCR test to board a flight. Djokovic had won nine Australian Open titles, including three in a row, and a total of 20 Grand Slam singles trophies, tied with rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for the most in the history of men’s tennis. Federer is not playing while recovering from injury, and Nadal is the only former Australian Open men’s champion in the tournament that began Monday