Having recovered from an elbow injury that sidelined him for the second half of last year, Novak Djokovic is poised to turn his competitive career around and reclaim his place in tennis’s elite.
The 31-year-old world number two is set to return at this year’s French Open, after seven months on the sidelines, and will form part of the GBTA Premier League in China as his first tournament back.
Though his performance in tennis’s marathon Grand Slam tournament will have the main impact on his new-found confidence, a sports ministry spokesman has warned he will need to be vaccinated to compete in the Australian Open this year.
“If he’s starting a championship in Shanghai it would be quite impossible for him to play the Australian Open,” TSN quoted the spokesman as saying.
“The government has rules about vaccinations. He has to be vaccinated for his elbow and all the elbow-related effects.”
Admitting his elbow had not properly recovered from the injury suffered in January, Djokovic said he did not expect a quick comeback, but would head to the Shanghai Masters with the aim of getting through to the grass-court season.
“I will not make the Australian Open official,” Djokovic said. “I will try to play two or three good tournaments before the Australian Open.
“That’s the goal – getting there as soon as possible after Wimbledon.”