Novak Djokovic might have been unceremoniously deported from Australia but the world No 1 continues to garner adulation from his admirers.
Several hundred people greeting the star outside a municipal building in Budva, a small Adriatic sea resort in Montenegro, on Friday as he arrived to receive a plaque declaring him an honorary citizen of the town.
Budva official Marko Carevic also presented Djokovic with an Orthodox Christian icon for helping “preserve the Serbian people and the Serbian church in Montenegro".
Djokovic is yet to play this year after his controversial visa row in Australia, which ended with the 20-time Grand Slam winner being deported shortly before the start of the tournament.
The 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 decided to remove him from the country and the ruling was upheld by the courts.
The 34-year-old is all set to headline the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships' 30th anniversary next month.
“We are thrilled to welcome so many top players to our 30th year celebrations of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships,” said Colm McLoughlin, executive vice chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free.
“We are delighted to see Novak back in Dubai for the 12th time when he will be seeking his sixth title and we wish him the best of luck.”
Djokovic has been a regular participant at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, competing 11 times since making his debut in 2007 and winning the title on five occasions, most recently in 2020.