The eight-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic is preparing another assault on the Melbourne crown, hoping to defend both the ATP Cup title for Serbia and win the 18th Major title two weeks later. Novak is serving a two-week quarantine in Adelaide alongside Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem, which is utterly different from Melbourne, where the remaining Australian Open competitors are gathered.
Novak is spending the appointed time on the practice court before returning to his room, keeping his physical shape, reading and chatting with his Serbian fans who are gathering below his balcony. Novak is aware that he is privileged in comparison to those who serve their quarantine in Melbourne and can't leave the room for two weeks.
"There has been a great debate in the last several weeks whether the players should come or not. Many are unable to reunite with their families and are still waiting for permission to come to Australia. We getting that special permission to be here, quarantine and then participate in the Australian tennis summer is a privilege, and we've been fortunate.
My heart goes out to all the people suffering; I hope that all this will pass quickly and that we will be free again soon. I love being in Australia, it's a country of sports. The amount of passion and love for sports in Australia is quite impressive.
Novak Djokovic spoke about his Adelaide bubble.
I can't wait to go out and start competing in front of the Aussie crowd. We do, in a way, want to feel welcome here. I understand the people's frustration here, and Australian citizens cannot come back home.
I'm grateful to be here. I hope all of us together can have, at least, some good times on the tennis courts in Adelaide and in Melbourne. I hope that we can bring some good positive energy and joy to the people. The first thing I'm gonna do on Friday morning, I'm just going to run straight to the park and spend an hour there; I miss being free and being able to walk around.
There have been quite a few kids with their families coming these days in front of the balcony, playing tennis and dancing. Honestly, it's been a wonderful experience so far for me being in quarantine. It's been different, obviously.
No one likes to be locked up in a room for 14 days, but at the same time, we have been very fortunate compared to the guys in Melbourne. Getting more hours outside and on the court and having a balcony and some fresh air. So I can't complain," Novak Djokovic said.