Novak Djokovic Returns to Australia a Year After COVID Deportation, Aims for 10th Australian Open Title

Novak Djokovic is back in Australia after a year of deportation due to his opposition to the COVID-19 vaccine, the Australian Open confirmed.

The 35-year-old Serbian tennis star, who missed last year’s Australian Open because of the country’s strict regulations and a complicated, last-minute visa cancellation, is vying for a 10th tournament title next month.

During a press conference on Tuesday, Craig Tiley, the Australian Open’s tournament director, reportedly had nothing but positive words to say about the athlete’s return now that the country has lifted their vaccination restrictions.

“Over the years I’ve been really fortunate to start very strong in Australia and I love playing there,” Djokovic said in Dubai last week at an exhibition tournament. “After obviously what happened earlier this year, hopefully I can have a decent reception there and hopefully that can help me play some good tennis.”

Last January, three Federal Court judges unanimously upheld a decision that was made by Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke to cancel Djokovic’s visa, ESPN reported.

The decision came just days after an Australian Federal Circuit Court judge reinstated Djokovic’s visa after his entry into Australia was initially delayed due to issues with his application.

The Olympian had received a COVID-19 vaccine medical exemption to play in the Grand Slam tournament prior to arriving in the country.

 

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