Novak Djokovic poised to play in Australian Open with visa ban overturned

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Serbia’s Novak Djokovic returns the ball to Russia’s Andrej Rublev during their singles tennis match of the ATP World Tour Finals, at the Pala Alpitour in Turin, Italy, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni) Antonio Calanni/AP

Novak Djokovic poised to play in Australian Open with visa ban overturned

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Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic is poised to play in the next Australian Open after having his visa ban overturned.

The 21-time Grand Slam singles champion was thrust into a diplomatic flashpoint earlier this year after being detained briefly for entering Australia without his COVID-19 vaccine, effectively blocking him from defending his title at the Australian Open. Australia decided to scrap the three-year visa ban against him, according to reports this week.

DJOKOVIC CAN PLAY IN NEXT AUSTRALIAN OPEN WITH VISA BAN SET TO BE LIFTED

“I was very happy to receive the news yesterday. It was a relief obviously knowing what I and the people closest to me in my life have been through this year with what happened in Australia and post-Australia,” Djokovic said, per PA Media. “I could not receive better news for sure.”

Australian Immigration Minister Andrew Giles overturned the three-year ban that had been slapped on Djokovic during the vaccination dust-up earlier this year, and he is expected to issue a visa for him, multiple news outlets reported. Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley indicated that Djokovic would be able to compete in the next Australian Open.

“I know Novak wants to come and play and to get back to competing,” he told the Australian Associated Press. “He loves Australia, and it’s where he’s had the best success.”

Djokovic was deported from Australia in January amid his refusal to get vaccinated. He said at the time that he entered the country under the belief he qualified for an exemption and noted he contracted COVID-19 several weeks prior.

Earlier this year, Australia was governed by stringent COVID-19 suppression measures, but it has since lightened up. The country has also undergone a change in government.

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Recently elected Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, a fan of the sport, was reportedly concerned about Djokovic’s absence from the event. Djokovic also subsequently missed the U.S. Open over his unvaccinated status.

Djokovic, 35, won the Australian Open nine times. He recently triumphed over Russian player Andrey Rublev in the ATP Finals.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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