Novak Djokovic warned on Sunday that he’s out for a sixth Dubai title next week, driven by the fire that took him to a 10th Australian Open crown a month ago.
“I still feel physically very good,” the top seed said in reference to the hamstring muscle tear which he carried throughout Melbourne.
“Mentally I’m there, I’m present.
“I really love the game, I love the competition, I love to be challenged on the court by anybody.
“So there’s still that fire, that flame burning.”
The 35-year-old starts against Czech qualifier Thomas Machac, ranked 120th and still to win a main draw ATP match this season (0-3).
Djokovic will return to the courts after his long injury break which included three weeks without picking up a racquet.
He said that after resuming training a week ago, his level is slowly returning
“I had enough time in the gym to build a good base. In the last few days it’s really about getting as many practice points as possible to get myself back in a competitive shape in order to be able to compete at a high level.
“I haven’t felt any pain whatsoever out on the court for aweek now. I’m getting closer to the hundred percent.
“I’m still not there in terms of the game itself, how I feel on the court.
“But the important thing is there is no pain. I don’t have a hindrance to the way I move on the court.”
Main photo:- Novak Djokovic losing in Dubai 2022 quarter final ©ATPTour