World no. 1 Novak Djokovic will return to action on Monday following the eighth Australian Open crown, facing Malek Jaziri in the first round at the ATP 500 event in Dubai. With no Roger Federer in the draw, Novak is the clear favorite to lift the first Dubai title since 2013, dominating at this event in the last and seeking the fifth crown overall following a perfect start of the season.
The Serb lost the year-end no. 1 spot to Rafael Nadal after failing to reach the semi-final at the ATP Finals, bouncing back stronger in 2020 to win all 13 matches and regain the throne. Novak led Serbia towards the inaugural ATP Cup title, beating Rafael Nadal in the final and stepping on the court again in the doubles to secure the victory for Serbia.
In Melbourne, Djokovic grabbed the 17th Major crown to move closer to Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the GOAT race, overcoming Dominic Thiem in a thrilling final to write history once again down under. Speaking with journalists ahead of Dubai, Novak mentioned his constant will for improvement as the most significant reason he still plays tennis, reflecting those developments to life in general.
Also, Djokovic revealed he sees tennis as a great school of life, blessed with his journey so far and all great people that encompass him. "Yes, there is room for improvement and that's my biggest motivation at the moment.
That's probably one of the most prominent reasons why I keep on playing this sport and why I put a lot of effort and dedication every single day. I feel that tennis is a great place for me to improve, not just in tennis but also as a human being to build my character," Djokovic said.
"Tennis, like no other place in life, triggers my emotions. It's an excellent way for me to understand myself on deeper levels. I see tennis as a great school of life in a way. I also enjoy it. I really love to hold the racquet.
I enjoy the process and the journey. I have a great team of people around me that puts a lot of energy and faith in me, in my game. Together, we create beautiful things on the court and I'm grateful for that."