Novak Djokovic has returned to Australia for the first time since his deportation in January 2022 and has admitted to being uncertain of the reception he will receive.
The nine-time Australian Open champion had a very publicised visa dispute surrounding his covid vaccination status which caused a media frenzy at the start of the year.
Speaking candidly in his first press conference in Adelaide, Djokovic admitted that he’s had to dig deep to come to terms with how the experience affected him.
"You can't forget those events, it's one of those things that stick with you," said Djokovic.
"It stays with you for the rest of your life. It's something I've never experienced before and hopefully never again, but it is a valuable life experience for me.
"But I have to move on and coming back to Australia speaks about how I feel about this country and how I feel about playing here."
At the time, the debate seemed to divide opinion in the country with many Australians taking to the streets, both in support of the Serbian and against him staying in the country.
The 21-time Grand Slam champion said he hopes everyone can move on from the situation and wants his tennis to do the talking.
"It's a great place and the people in Adelaide, and generally in Australia, love tennis, love sports and it's a sporting nation so hopefully we're going to have a lot of people watching and we can have a good time," Djokovic said.
"I'm hoping everything is going to be positive. Obviously, it's not something that I can predict. I'll do my best to play some good tennis and bring good emotions and good feelings to the crowd."
The former world number one, who is hoping to claim his tenth Australian Open title, says he has so many good memories from playing in Australia and that’s the most important thing.
"What happened 12 months ago was not easy to digest for some time but at the same time I had to move on. Those circumstances will not replace what I have lived in Melbourne and in Australia throughout my entire career," Djokovic said.
"So I come with positive emotions and I really look forward to playing there. It's been my favourite Grand Slam, the results prove that."
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