Djokovic happy with injury recovery despite semi-final exit in Dubai

March 4 (Reuters) - Novak Djokovic suffered his first loss of the season in Friday's semi-final defeat to Daniil Medvedev at the Dubai Tennis Championships but he was pleased with his fitness levels during the tournament, having returned from a hamstring injury.

World number one Djokovic suffered a three-centimetre hamstring tear en route to winning the Adelaide Open before claiming his 22nd Grand Slam title at the Australian Open to go level with Rafa Nadal.

The 35-year-old Serbian had a solid run at the ATP 500 event in Dubai before he lost 6-4 6-4 to Medvedev.

"I lost to a better opponent. I know that I didn't play well in some decisive moments, but it was also due to his quality of tennis," Djokovic told reporters.

"The way I felt throughout the entire week makes me really satisfied with the current state of my body, not knowing how I'm going to react with the comeback after an injury. I'm really glad."

Djokovic, one of the most high-profile athletes unvaccinated against COVID-19, said he is still waiting for an outcome having applied for special permission to enter the United States, where foreign travellers are required to provide proof of vaccination before entering the country.

If he cannot compete at the hard court ATP Masters 1000 events in Indian Wells and Miami later this month, Djokovic's next tournament will be on the clay in Monte Carlo in April.

"I'm still waiting for the news from America. If there's no America, I guess I'll play clay. Monte Carlo is probably the next tournament. If that's the case, I'll take some time off, I'll prepare," he said.

"Clay, as we've said, is the most demanding surface. It takes time more than any other surface to prepare for."

Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

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