The Federal Government has gone back on Novak Djokovic’s three-year ban from Australia, opening the door for the tennis icon to compete at the upcoming Australian Open in January 2023.
Often labelled “No-Vax” Djokovic, the sportsman’s refusal to vaccinate against Covid-19 saw his Australian visa cancelled ahead of the January 2022 Australian Open, and the Serbian was promptly deported from the country.
The 35-year-old told reporters at the ATP Finals in Turin on Monday night that he was awaiting the government’s decision, but he had heard “nothing official yet”.
“We are waiting,” he said. “They are communicating with the government of Australia. That’s all I can tell you for now.”
However, ABC News has reported Immigration Minister Andrew Giles has confirmed Djokovic’s ban has been overturned, allowing the tennis star to return.
Elated tennis fans have shared their excitement for the sporting legend’s return on social media.
10th australia open title baby lets gooooo????????????????????
— sunshine. (@crazyheadimp) November 15, 2022
The best possible news to wake up to!!!!!
— Atta Rehman (@Attarehman123) November 15, 2022
— Rennae Stubbs OLY (@rennaestubbs) November 15, 2022
Novak Djokovic, the emperor of Rod Laver Arena, is returning for redemption in 2 months.
Fancam, highlights reel, or both. Whatever you want to call this pic.twitter.com/91Uy6PmnIt
— Srihari (@srihariravi12) November 15, 2022
You just know Novak Djokovic will win the Australian Open… it’s written in the stars. Crowd reaction on court will be very interesting.
— Isaac Nowroozi (@isaacnowroozi) November 15, 2022
The overturning of his ban is a massive win for Djokovic, as after winning his 21st grand slam at Wimbledon on July 10, 2022, the tennis player began expressing his hopes to return to the country in a bid to take the grand slam record from Rafael Nadal, who currently has 22.
The controversial sportsman revealed his desire to return to Australia for the 2023 Australian Open in January to reporters at the Bosnian tennis centre.
— Right Said Fred (@TheFreds) July 14, 2022
“I was deported from the country to which I would like to come back,” Djokovic said.
“I would love to come back to Australia. I love Australia, I had my best Grand Slam results in that country. Hopefully, in January, I can be there because I want to be there, and I also want to be in New York. I want to be in America, I want to be everywhere I can possibly play.
“I am a professional tennis player, I don’t go into politics or anything else because that doesn’t interest me. I have my stance and I am a proponent for freedom to choose what is best for you. I respect everything and everybody, and at least I expect people to respect my decision.
“If I have permission, I’ll be there. If I don’t, I won’t be there – it’s not the end of the world.”