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16 Nov, 2022 17:38

Djokovic confirms Australian Open plans

Novak Djokovic has been cleared to play in January’s tournament in Melbourne
Djokovic confirms Australian Open plans

Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic has confirmed that he has been granted a visa to enter Australia in January ahead of the first Grand Slam event of the New Year.

Djokovic has been dominant at the Australian Open since his first win in Melbourne in 2008, and since then has gone on to claim the top prize on a further eight occasions – the most recent of which came in 2021.

He was poised to challenge for a record-extending tenth crown, as well as claiming what at the time would have been a record 21st Grand Slam win, in last January’s tournament before he fell foul of Australia’s prior immigration policies which dictated that all visitors into the country must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

But any repeat of the drama which gripped the tennis world several months ago has been ruled out after Djokovic confirmed in Turin, Italy, following his ATP Finals victory against Andrey Rublev that any such barriers have now been removed.

I was very happy to receive the news yesterday,” he said of his successful visa application.

Djokovic, who has ruled out being vaccinated against Covid-19, overcame a coronavirus infection last year and was granted an entry exemption for the last edition of the Australian Open back in January. 

However, he was subsequently deported from Australia ten days after arriving in the country after government intervention, despite initially launching a successful legal challenge which was later overruled by Australian authorities.

The Serb was hit with a three-year ban from entering Australia, but this was later overturned amid a visa application process for the 2023 iteration of the tournament at the behest of Australia’s new immigration minister, Andrew Giles, whose government came to power in May.

Australia significantly relaxed its Covid-19 rules for foreign travelers during the summer, no longer requiring them to provide proof of vaccination.  

Signs appeared strong that Djokovic would play the event in 2023 when Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley stated on Tuesday that he was hopeful Djokovic immigration woes were behind him.

I know Novak wants to come and play and to get back to competing,” said Tiley. “He loves Australia and it's where he's had the best success.”