It’s been 18 years since Novak Djokovic won his last ATP Challenger Tour title – but could he make a return to the second tier of professional tennis this month?
It appears unlikely he will return for the Miami Open, which starts next week, as United States entry laws still require international travellers to be vaccinated.
If Djokovic misses Miami then it appears likely he will next play on clay at the Monte-Carlo Masters, which starts on April 9. That would mean he would be returning to the court without having played tennis for a month, just as he did last year, when he lost to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in his first match back in Monte Carlo.
A potential solution has arisen in the shape of the Sanremo Tennis Cup, which is an ATP Challenger Tour event played on clay from March 27 to April 2.
Last year, the tournament was won by Holger Rune, and in 2005 it was won by… Djokovic.
The 2005 Sanremo Tennis Cup was the last Challenger title that Djokovic lifted before he turned his attentions fully to the ATP Tour – and the organisers are keen to have him back.
“We look forward to seeing you on March 26 for the tournament that you won 18 years ago and for the first time will be a #ATPChallenger 125.
“We still have your trophy, we are waiting to hand it over to you with the hope of seeing you play again on our courts.
“We reserve the wild card for you, we are confident.”
The tournament have also tried to gather momentum with the hashtag: #NoleComeToSanremo.
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So, will Djokovic play?
Unfortunately for the organisers, it seems it is not possible.
Djokovic is currently ranked at No. 1 in the world rankings.
Instead, Djokovic may be left waiting to see if he gets into the Miami Open, and then turning his attentions to the clay season if he is unsuccessful.
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