Novak Djokovic: where to next for tennis superstar after landing in Dubai?

World No 1 touched down in the UAE on Monday after deportation from Australia, but his final destination was unknown

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Novak Djokovic landed in Dubai early Monday after his deportation from Australia with his final destination unknown.

With his record-breaking bid for a 21st Grand Slam on hold after losing his appeal against his visa cancellation to take part in the Australian Open, Djokovic is likely to take some time off from tennis following his Melbourne ordeal.

Here are the world No 1's next potential destinations.

Stay in Dubai

Djokovic could decide to rest in Dubai following his arrival on an Emirates flight early Monday. The Serb, 34, was last year rewarded with the UAE's golden card residency scheme, shortly after winning the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships title last February.

“I am grateful because I've been friends for years with His Highness [Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai]. I want to thank him for allowing me to train at his facility for the years I've been coming to Dubai," Djokovic said at the time.

Head home to Serbia

Djokovic may decide he is in need of some love and home comforts after the unvaccinated tennis champion's presence in Melbourne polarised opinion. The 20-time Grand Slam winner would be assured of a grand welcome in his homeland.

Djokovic's detention in Australia caused a diplomatic spat between Canberra and Belgrade. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic was withering in his criticism of Australian authorities.

"They think that they have by this, this mistreatment of 10 days, humiliated Djokovic, but they have humiliated themselves. Djokovic can return to his country with his head held high," Vucic told a state media outlet.

Other destinations

Other options include Spain or Monaco, where Djokovic spends most of his time when not competing on the ATP Tour.

Djokovic began his trip to Melbourne from Spain via Dubai on January 4 despite returning a positive Covid test in Serbia on December 16. The player admitted his agent "mistakingly ticked the wrong box" when filling out his Australian Travel Declaration where he had to state whether he had travelled within 14 days of coming to Australia, which contributed to his initial detention.

Djokovic also admitted to making an “error of judgement” by attending an interview with a French journalist in Belgrade while Covid positive.

Updated: January 17, 2022, 4:37 AM