Novak Djokovic: Serb lands in Australia after ban overturned

30 Dec, 2022 - 00:12 0 Views
Novak Djokovic: Serb lands in Australia after ban overturned Novak Djokovic

eBusiness Weekly

Novak Djokovic has been welcomed back into Australia almost a year after he was deported over his Covid vaccine status.

Officials confirmed the 21-time Grand Slam champion, 35, had landed in the country for January’s Australian Open.

Serb Djokovic, a nine-time Australian Open winner, had an automatic three-year visa ban overturned in November.

“I think that he is going to be again the player to beat,” said Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley.

Last January, when Djokovic arrived in Australia for the 2022 tournament, Covid cases were skyrocketing and government rules required anyone entering the country to be vaccinated – unless they had a valid medication exemption.

Djokovic, who was detained by the Australian Border Force on entering the country and forced to stay at an immigration hotel, claimed he had obtained a medical exemption to defend his title without being vaccinated because he had recently recovered from Covid-19.

However, after 10 days of legal argument, the government ruled he did not meet the requirements for entry, so his visa was cancelled and he was automatically not allowed to return to Australia until 2025. Djokovic’s detention dominated the headlines in the build-up to the tournament, with crowds gathering outside his hotel campaigning for and against his eventual deportation.

Immigration Minister Andrew Giles – whose government came to power in May – overturned the ban last month and Djokovic said he was “very happy” on hearing the news.

Tiley said he did not expect a backlash to the player’s return and added: “We welcome him back to Australia.

“I have a great deal of confidence in the Australian public. I have a lot of confidence that the fans will react how we hope they will react.”

Djokovic, the world number five, said in November he was relieved to be able to return to Melbourne.

“[The] Australian Open has been my most successful Grand Slam,” he added. “I made some of the best memories there.

“Of course, I want to go back there, I want to play tennis, do what I do best, hopefully have a great Australian summer.”

Djokovic, who is one Grand Slam title behind Rafael Nadal’s record of 22, is scheduled to play in the Adelaide International, beginning Sunday, with the Australian Open starting in Melbourne on 16 January. — BBCSports

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