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Novak Djokovic Australian Open: Tennis champion gets visa to play after Covid vaccine deportation

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Tennis star Novak Djokovic WILL play in the Australian Open next year despite being banned for three years after he was deported over his Covid vax status

  • Tennis star Novak Djokovic will be allowed to play next year’s Australian Open 
  • Immigration minister overturns a three-year ban on him entering the country 
  • Ban was imposed in January when Djokovic lost a court fight to stay in Australia
  • Previous immigration minister deported Djokovic for ‘anti-vaccination’ stance

Novak Djokovic is poised to return to next year’s Australian Open as the tennis star’s ban from the country is set to be reversed. 

The Serbian will be given the right of entry by immigration minister Andrew Giles, scrapping the three-year ban imposed by the former government in Canberra.

Australia is seeking to avoid a repeat of controversy from this year, when the then world number one’s visa was cancelled just before the tournament and he was deported after being detained alongside asylum seekers.

Multiple Australian media outlets reported that he will receive a visa, with his refusal to be vaccinated against Covid no longer held against him.

Unlike this year, Tennis Australia have wisely stayed neutral on the issue of the nine-time champion’s participation, whose dominance of Melbourne has approached that of Rafael Nadal in Paris.

Yet as far back as Wimbledon there was the belief that the sanction would likely be withdrawn, with much of the sting now taken out of the issue.

A significant factor has been a change of government, with Tony Albanese – who happens to be a tennis nut – taking over from Scott Morrison, whose administration used its powers to bar the Serbian.

Tennis superstar Novak Djokovic is set to play in next year’s Australian Open after the immigration minister decided to overturn a three-year ban on him entering the country

While domestic public opinion was in favour of his deportation ten months ago, a recent survey suggested it had very much softened.

Djokovic, currently playing at the ATP Finals in Turin, has largely kept his own counsel on the matter.

This is in contrast to the public relations disaster that unfolded during January’s fiasco, which was marked by angry press conferences given by his family. 

It was initially sparked by a social media post on his departure for Australia, which smacked of entitlement.

Djokovic’s refusal to take the vaccine has seen him miss everything in North America this year.

He will be favourite to win another title in 2023, although Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz has emerged as another genuine challenger in recent months.

Djokovic was denied the chance to win his 10th Australian Open title in succession and claim a 21st grand slam, which would have put him one ahead of arch-rival Rafael Nadal and claim the all-time men’s record.

Instead he had to watch Nadal take home the crown and the prize as the first man to break the 21 mark. 

Djokovic (pictured centre left) leaves Australia after a court upheld the decision by former immigration minister Alex Hawke to deny him a visa in January

Djokovic (pictured centre left) leaves Australia after a court upheld the decision by former immigration minister Alex Hawke to deny him a visa in January

Djokovic (here pictured with wife Jelena Djokovic) was denied a chance to win his 10th Australian Open earlier this year

Djokovic (here pictured with wife Jelena Djokovic) was denied a chance to win his 10th Australian Open earlier this year

Djokovic has since won Wimbledon but still trails Nadal by one after the Spaniard beat him in the final of the French Open. 

He earlier told Serbian website Sportal there were ‘positive signs’ coming from Australia but they were ‘unofficial’.

‘We are communicating through my lawyers in Australia. In fact, they are communicating with the authorities in charge of my case,’ he said.

Djokovic supporters rallied in Melbourne to support his claims to stay in Australia this January

Djokovic supporters rallied in Melbourne to support his claims to stay in Australia this January

‘I hope to have an answer in the next few weeks – whatever that answer might be, but of course I am hoping for a positive one – so that I have enough time to prepare for the start of the season, if that start is going to happen in Australia.’

‘I really want to go there, I am over what happened this year and I just want to play tennis, it is what I do best. 

‘Australia has always been the place where I have played my best tennis, the results speak for themselves, so I am always extra motivated to go there. This time even more so.

‘I am hoping for a positive answer.’

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