Tennis superstar Novak Djokovic has opened up about his 2022 visa cancellation saga while revealing that he remains hopeful he will be permitted to compete in the Australian Open in 2023.
Djokovic’s visa was cancelled after arriving at Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airpot on Wednesday, January 5.
The 34-year-old was due to play the 2022 Australian Open, after being granted a medical exemption to compete despite being unvaccinated. Djokovic was told to leave the country on January 6. He left Australia after a last-ditch effort to have his visa cancellation overturned failed in Federal Court. Djokovic was seen at Melbourne’s Tullamarine airport Sunday, January 16, flanked by Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers as he boarded an Emirates flight to Dubai.
As a result of losing his appeal against his visa cancellation, Djokovic is barred from entering Australia for three years.
Novak Djokovic leaves the Marhaba lounge at Melbourne Airport for flight back to Europe. pic.twitter.com/Rg2D1XTTwW
— Shane McInnes (@shanemcinnes) January 16, 2022
Despite the ban, Djokovic has revealed he is optimistic that may get the chance to enter the country and compete in the upcoming 2023 Australian Open.
“When it comes to Australia, there are some positive signs, but unofficially,” Djokovic told Sportal.
“We are communicating through my lawyers in Australia. In fact, they are communicating with the authorities in charge of my case. 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.”
The World No.7 also reflected on his choice to remain unvaccinated despite the impact it has had on his sporting career.
“I have never offended anyone or ever tried to be disrespectful in any way. I always tried to show that it is important for everyone to have the right and freedom of choice,” he explained.
“For the choices I made, I knew there would be certain consequences like not going to America, and that is it.
“For Australia it was a different case, I had the exception, but in the end it did not work out. We know what happened, let’s not go back.
“This time I am waiting for the permission again. It is a good thing that they have now opened the borders for the unvaccinated foreigners traveling to Australia. I have that ban, I hope it will be lifted. As I said, it is not in my hands, I hope the people in the Australian Government will give a positive answer, that is all.”
Despite his vaccine objections and the roadblocks it has caused for his competitive career, Djokovic recently secured his Wimbledon men’s final win at Centre Court on Sunday, July 10.
In the highly anticipated final showdown between himself and Nick Kyrgios, Djokovic recorded a 4-6 6-3 6-4 7-6(3) victory over Kyrgios at the All England Club. Sunday’s win continues Djokovic’s winning streak at the club to 28 matches, with his recent victory marking the first time he was won four consecutive titles at the tournament.
Introducing your 2022 Wimbledon champions (a thread) ????
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 10, 2022
A humbled Djokovic struggled to find the words to convey what winning the Wimbledon finals meant to him and those closest to him.
“I’ve lost words for what this tournament, what this trophy means to me, to my team, to my family. I have said this many times,” he said.