Dubai: Novak Djokovic, a five-time champion in Dubai now, is unsure of what to do with his latest ‘Gold Card’ incentive handed out to him by the Dubai government.
Djokovic came into Dubai at the start of the week as one of the top-class sportspersons who had been handed out the ‘Gold Card’ visa after Portugal international Cristiano Ronaldo had been granted a similar status in the UAE a week before.
The UAE cabinet, headed by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, had approved the issuing of golden visas for talented athletes in the first week of February. Ronaldo’s name was announced in mid-February in recognition of the 35-year-old football star’s exploits for club and country. Ronaldo has now been joined by fellow Portuguese Figo among others.
“I’m not using Dubai as residence, but one day if I ever decide to do that, I think that’s [Golden Card] going to give me I guess an easier way to establish myself as a resident, as I understood. I’m not really yet sure about all the benefits and privileges of that honour,” he admitted.
“I am grateful because I’ve been now friends for years with His Highness Fazza [Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council] if I can call him that way. I want to thank him for allowing me to train in his facility for the years I’ve been coming to Dubai. The golden visa is I like to think a positive consequence of the relationship that we had, as well, alongside other big athletes like Ronaldo, Federer,” he related.
“I’m honoured to be in that group. Dubai has been a very important city in my career not just because of the tournament but because I’ve been actually coming as a tourist here and using this as a base for pre-season training. I really enjoy it. I can’t wait to come back again. If you ask my children, they’ll probably be even more excited to come back to Dubai,” Djokovic insisted.
“But I don’t know yet if I will buy an apartment here.”