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
Immigration Minister Andrew Giles will give Djokovic a visa, which scraps a the entry ban imposed by the former Morrison government when it cancelled the Serbian player’s visa just before the Open in January.
Then immigration minister Alex Hawke ruled that despite Djokovic having a recent Covid diagnosis it did not justify an exemption to the Australia’s border requirement for visitors to be vaccinated.
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
Despite a court ruling that the visa Djokovic entered Australia on was valid Mr Hawke used his ministerial powers to rule the then No.1, who was well known for his anti-vaccination stance, could stir up similar sentiment in the community.
After a Federal Court upheld Mr Hawke’s power to make that decision Djokovic was forced to leave the country amid heated scenes where his supporters demonstrated on the streets of Melbourne.
Djokovic was denied the chance to win his 10th Australian Open title in succession and claim a 21 grand slam, which would have put him one ahead of arch-rival Rafael Nadal and claim the all-time men’s record.
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
Instead Djokovic had to watch Nadal take home the crown and the prize as the first man to break the 21 mark.
Djokovic has since won Wimbledon but still trails Nadal by one after the Spaniard beat him in the final of the French Open.
Australia has since overturned its requirement for visitors to be vaccinated.
Djokovic (here pictured with wife Jelena Djokovic) was denied a chance to win his 10th Australian Open last year
Djokovic earlier told Serbian website Sportal that 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.
‘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.’
Australian Open Director Craig Tiley said on Tuesday he expected the situation with Djokovic to be sorted out soon.
“There’s a normal visa application process that everyone is going through right now, and everyone will go through the right timing,” Tiley sid.
“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 (on any announcement) is up to somebody else and we’ll just play that one by ear.”