In a surprise announcement this morning, little-known tennis tournament The Manus Island Open has confirmed that world number one Novak Djokovic will play as a wild card entrant, and could arrive on the island as soon as this afternoon.
Djokovic was expected to play the Australian Open in Melbourne, but his team applied for a wild card spot in Manus at the last-minute instead.
The tournament – part of the ATP Challenger Tour – has never hosted a player ranked in the top 2,000 before, but organisers say they’ll make the Grand Slam champ feel welcome. “We’re expecting he’ll spend quite a bit of time here,” a spokesperson said.
Djokovic is likely to take a ‘special charter flight’ to the island later today, with organisers confirming there will be plenty of personal security on hand during the star’s stay.
“We have great facilities here. There’s a small concrete wall which he can use as a practice court. There’s food. We don’t think he’ll be able to leave”.
The tournament is expected to last at least nine years.
More to come.