The Australian government confirmed on Thursday that Novak Djokovic had been granted a visa to compete in the Australian Open in January a year after he was deported over his stance against COVID-19 vaccination.
The 21-time Grand Slam singles champion had his visa cancelled on public interest grounds on Jan. 14 and lost an appeal against deportation in the Full Federal Court.
Immigration Minister Andrew Giles said he had approved Djokovic’s application to revoke the cancellation decision because the ground for canceling the visa no longer existed. The visa ban could have lasted for three years.
“Mr. Djokovic has subsequently been granted a temporary visa to enter Australia,” Giles said in a statement.
The 35-year-old from Serbia is clear to compete at the Australian Open, which runs from Jan. 16-29 in Melbourne.
Djokovic was not vaccinated against COVID-19 when he last arrived in Australia. Australia has since lifted strict rules for unvaccinated travelers.
Alex Hawke, Australia’s immigration minister at the time, used discretionary powers to cancel Djokovic’s visa on character grounds, stating he was a “talisman of a community of anti-vaccine sentiment.”
Five-time champion Djokovic eased into the final four of the ATP Finals with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Andrey Rublev on Wednesday. It took the seventh-seeded Djokovic just 68 minutes to beat Rublev and make it two wins out of two in Turin, Italy to qualify for his 11th semifinal in 15 appearances at the year-end tournament.
Djokovic is aiming to equal Roger Federer’s record six titles at Melbourne Park.