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Asharq Al-Awsat
Asharq Al-Awsat
Asharq Al-Awsat

Djokovic Confirms He Has Visa to Play in 2023 Australian Open

Novak Djokovic of Serbia reacts during the Singles red group round robin match against Andrey Rublev of Russia at the ATP Finals 2022 in Turin, Italy, 16 November 2022. (EPA)

Nine-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic will be able to play in next year's tournament after he confirmed on Wednesday he had been granted a visa to travel. 

The 35-year-old Serb, the most successful male player in the tournament's history, missed this year's tournament after he was deported over his failure to have a COVID-19 vaccine. 

Djokovic, the former world number one, was originally barred from the country until 2025 but that decision has been reversed. 

"I was very happy to receive the news yesterday," Djokovic, whose deportation dominated the build-up to this year's Australian Open, said after his victory over Andrey Rublev at the ATP Finals in Turin on Wednesday. 

"It was a relief obviously knowing what I and people closest to me in my life have been through this year with what happened in Australia and post Australia obviously. 

"I could not receive better news for sure -- during this tournament as well. Australian Open has been my most successful Grand Slams. 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." 

Tournament director Craig Tiley said this month that Djokovic would be welcome in January if he could get a visa, but that Tennis Australia was unable to lobby on his behalf. 

Australia in July scrapped a rule that required international travelers to declare their COVID vaccination status, and Djokovic said in October he had received "positive signs" about the status of efforts to overturn his ban.  

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