Djokovic had secured an exemption from the state government and Tennis Australia based on recently having had the virus, but it was turned down by the federal government upon his arrival in Australia. The episode rapidly became a global news story and amid growing confusion, controversy and concerns he had broken isolation requirements following a positive test, he was eventually declared a threat to public order and required to leave just before the Australian Open began. He has won the Melbourne major a record nine times and would have been the top seed.
Since then, there have been questions about other events Djokovic could have problems playing, especially with an increasing amount of countries requiring vaccination. But Dubai is not among them, which will allow Djokovic to participate in the event and make his 2022 season debut. Djokovic last appeared on court at the 2021 Davis Cup Finals, where he won all eight of his singles sets to guide Serbia to a semifinal finish.
The 34-year-old joins Andrey Rublev, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Jannik Sinner, Denis Shapovalov and reigning champion Aslan Karatsev in the field.