Novak Djokovic's surprise announcement after Australian Open win

Australian Associated Press
·3-min read
Novak Djokovic has announced he will compete at the upcoming Miami Open, an earlier return from his Australian Open injury than expected. (Photo by Bai Xuefei/Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/Bai Xuefei via Getty Images)
Novak Djokovic has announced he will compete at the upcoming Miami Open, an earlier return from his Australian Open injury than expected. (Photo by Bai Xuefei/Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/Bai Xuefei via Getty Images)

World number No.1 Novak Djokovic has said he will return to the court at this month's Miami Open having recuperated from a muscle tear suffered during his Australian Open title defence.

The 33-year-old Serbian suffered the injury during a third-round match at Melbourne Park but that did not stop him from clinching a record-extending ninth Australian Open title and his 18th grand slam.

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He will surpass Roger Federer's all-time record for most weeks as ATP world No.1 on Monday, holding the top spot for the 311th week.

According to a partial schedule posted on his website, Djokovic is entered for the ATP Masters 1000 event on the hardcourts in Miami from March 22-April 4.

It is the first of three events he will play in before heading to Europe for the claycourt swing ahead of the French Open in end May.

From Miami, where he has won six titles, Djokovic will head to Monaco for the Monte-Carlo Masters, running from April 11-18, before returning home to Belgrade for the ATP 250 Serbia Open.

The Tour is returning to Belgrade for the first time since 2012, and the Serbia Open will be held at Djokovic's tennis centre from April 19-25.

Returning Federer to face Chardy or Evans

Roger Federer will face the winner of the match between Jeremy Chardy and Dan Evans in the Qatar Open next week in his first competition in more than a year.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion, who underwent two right knee operations last season, is playing in his first tournament since he reached the semifinals at the Australian Open in February 2020.

In Saturday's draw, the 39-year-old Federer was given a bye and faces a second-round challenge from either on-song veteran Chardy or the talented Briton Evans, who play on Monday.

Roger Federer is set to make his long-awaited return from injury at the Qatar Open. (Photo by Reg Caldecott/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
Roger Federer is set to make his long-awaited return from injury at the Qatar Open. (Photo by Reg Caldecott/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Veteran Chardy, currently world No.64, took Andrey Rublev to three sets in Rotterdam on Friday and he's also reached two semi-finals this year.

Evans, the world No.28, has already won a title this year - the Murray River Open in Melbourne last month, during which he beat Chardy in the semifinals.

Other Doha headliners include top-seeded Dominic Thiem and Rublev.

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"It's been a long and hard road," second-seeded Federer said Friday on Twitter.

"I know I'm not at the finish line yet. I feel like I'm in a good place. I've been practising very well, and just really pumped up."

Federer, who is currently at No.5 in the rankings, has won the Qatar hard court event in 2005, 2006 and 2011.

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