Important news ahead of the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of next year. Novak Djokovic will be able to play the Australian Open 2023 after receiving a visa that will allow him to do so after the controversy of ten months ago. The Serbian tennis player was deported in January, before the last edition of the contest. He was deported for his refusal to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
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Guardian Australia and state broadcaster ABC reported the news about the former world number 1 on Tuesday. Novak Djokovic, winner of the Australian Open up to nine times, could not enter the country until 2025 after being sanctioned with a veto for failing to comply with local regulations in the midst of a pandemic.
Novak Djokovic traveled to Australia in January without the Covid-19 vaccine, a mandatory requirement for entry into the country. After that, he was detained at the airport. After being released several hours later, was once again taken into custody at a special hotel for cases like his. Finally, a court ended up ordering the deportation before the start of the tournament.
ABC said it had confirmed that Immigration Minister Andrew Giles had lifted that ban, allowing Djokovic to compete. A spokesman for Australia’s Immigration Ministry declined to comment on the reports, according to Reuters.
“There’s a normal visa application process that everyone is going through right now, and everyone will go through the right timing. I don’t think there should be any preferential treatment for anyone. But I fully expect to have an answer for everyone by the time that they need to book their flights and come in, including Novak. That’s entirely up to the Australian government. I know Novak wants to come and play and to get back to competing.” Australian Open director Craig Tiley told AAP earlier on Tuesday.
In January this year, Djokovic’s visa was canceled despite him reaching Australia for the Grand Slam. Only hours before, he had flaunted his “exemption permission” on Instagram.