Novak Djokovic is hoping he will receive a warm welcome from the public when he returns to the Australian Open next month, now that the drama surrounding his vaccination status and deportation is officially behind him.

“I always ask the best from myself so let’s see. Over the years I’ve been really fortunate to start very strong in Australia and I love playing there,” Djokovic told reporters at the World Tennis League in Dubai on Friday.

“After obviously what happened earlier this year, hopefully I can have a decent reception there and hopefully that can help me play some good tennis.”

The 35-year-old Djokovic was unable to compete in two of the four majors this year as his vaccination stance meant he was also forced to sit out the US Open.

However, he finished his 2022 campaign with a bang, winning titles in Tel Aviv, Astana and the ATP Finals in Turin, as well as reaching the final of the Paris Masters.

He also picked up trophies in Rome and Wimbledon and tallied up a 42-7 win-loss record throughout the season.

The Serb had mentioned in the past he would like to play into his 40s.

Asked if he still felt that way, Djokovic said: “I would like to play as long as I possibly can. I don’t have really any number in my head. Things are progressing so far pretty well for me. I can’t complain. So as long as I play at this level, as long as I have the fire, I’ll keep going.”

- Reuters