Novak Djokovic set to make return at Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships

World No 1, yet to play this season, has been included in a widely-shared entry list for next month's tournament

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Novak Djokovic looks set to compete at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships next month after an early entry list for the ATP 500 event was widely shared online.

Djokovic is yet to play this year after his highly-publicised and controversial visa row in Australia, which ended with the world No 1 being deported shortly before the start of the Australian Open.

The 34-year-old Serb had arrived in Melbourne with a medical exemption against the mandatory Covid-19 vaccination, but after the courts initially overturned the border force's decision to cancel his visa, the Australian government's ruling to remove him from the country was upheld.

Djokovic is yet to confirm his schedule, but with the Dubai event less than four weeks away, it is expected that the 20-time Grand Slam champion will make his first appearance of the year in the Emirates.

Djokovic has been a regular participant at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships throughout his career, competing 11 times since making his debut in 2007 and winning the title on five occasions, most recently in 2020. He was in Dubai earlier this month when transiting through the airport on his way back to Belgrade following his deportation from Australia.

According to the leaked entry list, Djokovic will be joined in Dubai by Russia's world No 6 Andrey Rublev, Canadian world No 9 Auger-Aliassime, 10th-ranked Jannick Sinner of Italy, Polish world No 11 Hubert Hurkacz, Canada's world No 14 Denis Shapovalov, and Russian defending champion Aslan Karatsev, ranked No 15.

Other players on the list include 2018 Dubai winner Roberto Bautista Agut from Spain, French world No 20 Gael Monfils, and Croatia's former US Open champion Marin Cilic.

The 2022 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, scheduled to take place February 21-26, will be the 30th edition of the event. Swiss great Roger Federer is the tournament's most successful player with a record eight titles.

The ATP tournament will follow the week after the WTA competition, which on Tuesday announced a stacked line-up comprising nine of the world's top 10 and 17 of the top 20.

Confirmed players include second-ranked Aryna Sabalenka, world No 3 and defending champion Garbine Muguruza, and two-time Dubai winner Simona Halep.

Djokovic wins 2020 Dubai title

Updated: January 27, 2022, 4:44 AM