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Djokovic says deportation from Australia will 'stay with him for the rest of his life'

Almost a year to the day since he arrived in Australia, before being requested to leave, the world number five is back, and very happy to be Down Under.

Novak Djokovic says he "can't forget" what happened almost twelve months ago when he was deported from Australia and says it is an experience that will "stay with him for the rest of his life."

Speaking ahead of the Adelaide ATP 250 tournament, where he described the field as "super strong," Djokovic said "it's great to be back in Australia."

"Obviously, what happened 12 months ago was not easy for me, for my family, team, anybody who's close to me. It's obviously disappointing to leave the country like that but it's one of those things that sticks with you."

"It's something I've never experienced before and hopefully never again. It is a valuable life experience for me but I have to move on."

"Coming back to Australia speaks how I feel about this country, about how I feel about playing here."

"I was really hoping to have my permission back because it's a country where I have had tremendous success in my career, particularly in Melbourne. By far my most successful Grand Slam. Won it nine times."

At the tender age of 19, Djokovic lifted just the third ATP Tour trophy of his career in Adelaide. Now, a decade and a half and almost a century of titles later, he is back.

"Adelaide, 15 years ago, was one of the first professional tournaments that I won so I always felt great in Australia. Had great support. Played great tennis. Hopefully I can have another great summer."

As the 35-year-old noted, some of the world’s best players will be competing in Australia's fifth most populous city, including former world number one Daniil Medvedev, other top ten players Felix Auger-Aliassime and Andrey Rublev, as well as Holger Rune, who beat Djokovic in the Rolex Paris Masters final in November.

Djokovic will play the ATP 250 in Adelaide before attempting to win his tenth Australian Open next month in Melbourne.


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