Novak Djokovic hoping for 50 per cent capacity at Australian Open

Novak Djokovic admits it’s been a “strange” season but he hopes things will return to some normality in time for the Australian Open.

The world No 1 says the opening Grand Slam of the year is targeting crowds of up to 50 per cent capacity at the 10,500-capacity Melbourne Park.

Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley has previously stated that he is hoping to allow between 2,625 and 5,250 fans into the tournament in January.

Djokovic was speaking after he made it through to the semi-finals Nitto ATP Finals with victory against Alexander Zverev. The Serbian will face US Open champion Dominic Thiem for a spot in the final on Saturday.

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“If Australia happens, I’m hearing that we are going to have at least I think 50 per cent of the capacity of the stadium, so, I mean, that’s a lot,” Djokovic said.

“I think even 10 per cent would be huge for us at this stage. Just hearing the applause and hearing the fans and, you know, sensing their energy and their emotion and their kind of excitement for being there and cheering you on on the court, that’s something that I think we are all missing.”

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Djokovic added that he hopes the kind of feeling of walking into an empty stadium will be a temporary one.

“Strange is probably the right word to describe the season, but nevertheless I still feel like we played a lot of tournaments, considering we had a six-months gap in the middle of the season,” he said.

“We still managed to play three out of four Grand Slams and the ATP Finals and some bigger, big Masters 1000 events like Cincinnati and Rome.

“I think there was a lot of doubt that indoor season might happen and might not happen, because indoor and outdoor with this virus, obviously it’s quite different and people were quite sceptical whether we’re going to have the tournaments.

“I think it was pretty much clear we’re not gonna have any crowd. So it is strange. Hopefully this kind of feeling of walking into an empty stadium is just very temporary feeling. That it’s going to pass very soon, that we’re going to get back on track as soon as hopefully first part of next season.”

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