Novak Djokovic will make his much-anticipated return to Australia at the Adelaide International in January.

It will be the first time the former world No.1 has played here since he was sensationally booted from the country in a controversial saga at the start of this year that threatened to overshadow the 2022 Australian Open.

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Djokovic was deported and banned from the country for three years on the grounds that a recent COVID-19 diagnosis did not justify an exemption from Australia’s strict vaccination requirements at the time.

But last month the federal government backflipped on the decision to revoke Djokovic’s visa, paving the way for the Serbian superstar to chase a 10th Australian Open title next month.

The 35-year-old will begin his preparation in Adelaide on January 1, alongside former No.1 Andy Murray and rising Italian star Jannik Sinner.

Novak Djokovic after winning his sixth ATP Finals title. Credit: AP

The last time Djokovic was in Adelaide was in 2021 when spent two weeks in quarantine before controversially withdrawing from his exhibition match against Sinner because of a blister in his hand.

He then bizarrely turned up and played the second set.

“We saw in those two weeks that Djokovic was in quarantine here in Adelaide that he has a heck of a lot of fans here,” Adelaide International tournament director Alistair MacDonald told News Corp.

“Ultimately, in the end he did play that year and of course things can go wrong, but he’s committed and we expect he will play again.”

McDonald is unsure how the crowd will react to divisive champion.

“Covid was a pretty tough time for everyone and his experience probably didn’t go the way he wanted it to last year, but 2023 is a fresh start,” he said.

“It’s probably not our position to judge how he will be received, but he’s a great player and will certainly drive interest in the event.”

Djokovic defeated Casper Ruud to win his fifth ATP Finals title in his most recent appearance last month.

He can draw level with Rafael Nadal on 22 grand slam titles if he triumphs at next year’s Australian Open.

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