Djokovic eager to return

11 December 2017 02:45:12 GMTPlus11

Novak Djokovic says he is excited to get back to competitive tennis as he prepares for next month's Australian Open.

The former world number one has had a year to forget and missed the second half of the season completely through injury.

Now however he is ready to return to court and begins his preparations for what he hopes will be a successful 2018 season at the Mubadala World Tennis Championships at the end of December.

This tournament will offer me the perfect opportunity to start my preparation for the Australian Open.

Novak Djokovic

The winner of the tournament three years in a row between 2011 and 2013, Djokovic sees this year's event as an important way of getting back into competitive action before the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of 2018.

Djokovic said: "It is always an honour to play in Abu Dhabi and I can't wait to get back on court again.

"This tournament will offer me the perfect opportunity to start my preparation for the Australian Open."

He will hope for better fortunes during the year ahead after a 2017 season to forget. Arriving in Melbourne at the start of the year he was defending champion but suffered a shock second round defeat and he failed to advance beyond the quarter-finals at the French Open and Wimbledon.

He retired from his match against Tomas Berdych in London and that was to prove his last action of 2017 as he announced shortly afterwards that he was withdrawing from the rest of the year due to an elbow injury.

Now, as the 2018 season begins, he is ready to return and he will be fifth seed in Abu Dhabi with Rafael Nadal top seed in a tournament also featuring Dominic Thiem and another returnee to the tour, Stan Wawrinka.

Djokovic is 6.00 to win the Australian Open early next year. Nadal, beaten finalist in 2017 is 5.50 with defending champion Roger Federer priced at 2.75.

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