Novak Djokovic arrived in Dubai this weekend ahead of next week’s Dubai Tennis Championships and the world No. 1 hit the practice courts on Saturday. Accompanied by coach Goran Ivanisevic and the rest of the team, the Serbian great even jokingly revealed a new celebratory chant for his Dubai campaign.
Djokovic has fully recovered from a hamstring injury that was deemed more serious during his Australian Open campaign. As he still awaits a positive response to his exemption application to be able to enter the United States for the Indian Wells and Miami Masters events, he will aim to clinch career title no. 94 and third already in 2023.
The 22-time Grand Slam champion shared a few glimpses from his practice session on Saturday. After getting some valuable advice from Ivanisevic, the Serb nailed a few forehands. Intense training sessions aside, Djokovic, Ivanisevic, and the rest of the team then joked about a fun new chant of “Dubajkovic.”
“Good to be back in Dubai for @dubaidutyfree championship. Let’s go Team #dubajković,” the Serbian superstar captioned his Instagram post.
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Ahead of his tournament opener, Djokovic will enter a record 378th week as world No. 1, breaking a tie with Steffi Graf for most weeks as world No. 1 in tennis history, across the men’s and women’s circuits.
Even if world No. 2 Carlos Alcaraz earns 500 points by winning the Rio Open title on Sunday, he cannot eclipse the Serb as the top-ranked player, despite the fact that they will be tied on points. Djokovic will retain the No. 1 spot due to the ATP’s tiebreaker rule in the rankings.
Novak Djokovic could face Andy Murray for the first time since 2017 at Dubai Tennis Championships
Top seed Novak Djokovic will open his 2023 Dubai Tennis Championships campaign against a qualifier or a lucky loser in the Round of 32, before a potential last-16 clash with either Tallon Griekspoor or Constant Lestienne. The Serb could then face long-term rival Andy Murray in the quarterfinals, provided Murray gets past 5th seed Hubert Hurkacz in the first round and potentially Alexei Popyrin in the Round of 16.
The two ‘Big 4’ members last faced each other back in 2017, with the Serb winning the 35th installment of their rivalry 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 in Doha. They were set to face off in the Round of 16 Madrid last season, before Murray withdrew shortly before the match.
The 10-time Australian Open winner could then come up against Daniil Medvedev in the semifinals. Second seed Andrey Rublev, Alexander Zverev, Felix Auger-Aliassime, and Karen Khachanov are the biggest competitors in the other half of the draw in Dubai.