Djokovic set to be cleared to play Australian Open – media
Novak Djokovic will likely play next year’s Australian Open, with the Serbian ace set to be granted a visa as well as having a three-year ban on entering the country overturned, reports The Guardian.
Djokovic was sensationally deported from Australia on the eve of the 2022 tournament after falling foul of the then-coalition government’s Covid-19 guidelines, with his visa being revoked by authorities after it was determined that a recent Covid-19 diagnosis reported by the player did not constitute grounds for a vaccine exemption.
Despite being granted a temporary visa in a federal circuit court, former immigration minister Alex Hawke stepped in to overrule the court and withdraw the visa on the grounds that Djokovic's presence in the country could provoke civil unrest if he was permitted to enter as an unvaccinated individual.
After a second federal hearing upheld the government’s position, Djokovic was deported from the country just days before he was due to play his first match in what would have been a bid to win a tenth Australian Open crown.
Craig Tiley, director of the Australian Open, said on Tuesday that players are currently undergoing visa applications for the tournament, which begins on January 16, and that he expects Djokovic's application to be authorized by the relevant authorities.
“There’s a normal visa application process that everyone is going through right now, and everyone will go through the right timing,” Tiley explained.
“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.
“He loves Australia and it’s where he’s had the best success but the timing is up to somebody else and we’ll just play that one by ear.
“He understands the circumstances and everything but he’s got to work it out with the federal government. I’m confident they’ll reach some arrangement and hopefully it’s positive.”
Meanwhile, Djokovic said following his victory on Monday night against Stefanos Tsitsipas at the ATP Finals in Italy, that the ball is currently in the Australian government's court and that he has heard “nothing official.”
“We are waiting,” he said. “They are communicating with the government of Australia. That’s all I can tell you for now.”