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2 Jan, 2023 12:27

Djokovic given rapturous reception on return to Australian tennis (VIDEO)

The Serb was cheered when he took to the court at the Adelaide International
Djokovic given rapturous reception on return to Australian tennis (VIDEO)

Novak Djokovic was given a warm welcome upon his return to Australian tennis at the Adelaide International on Sunday.

The Serb was deported from Australia last January after falling foul of the country’s immigration requirements relating to Covid-19 vaccinations. He was given a reprieve from a three-year visa ban in November, and tennis fans showed there were no hard feelings towards him as they cheered his name from the stands ahead of a doubles match alongside Canada’s Vasek Pospisil at the Adelaide International.

However, overwhelming support from the crowd could not prevent the 35-year-old and his partner being beaten on the court by Tomislav Brkic and Gonzalo Escobar.

The match was watched by a capacity crowd, almost all of whom displayed their support for Djokovic throughout, with numerous Serbian flags spotted among his throngs of supporters.

Despite the defeat, Djokovic stayed behind on the court after the match to sign autographs and pose for photographs with his legions of fans.

Djokovic will now turn his attention to the Adelaide International singles competition, where he is the first seed, and will face Frenchman Constant Lestienne on Tuesday in what is his first singles match of the new year.

The event is generally considered to be a warm-up tournament for the Australian Open in Melbourne, which begins on January 16, and where Djokovic is a nine-time champion.

He remains just one Grand Slam victory behind Rafael Nadal’s all-time record of 22.