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Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated
Zach Koons

Report: Djokovic Set to Receive Visa to Play Australian Open

Novak Djokovic is set to be granted a visa that will allow him to play in next year’s Australian Open after he missed the Grand Slam event in January when he was deported due his vaccination status

According to the Associated Press, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. confirmed multiple local reports on Tuesday that the country’s immigration minister had overturned a possible three-year exclusion period from Australia for Djokovic. The office of Immigration Minister Andrew Giles declined comment on the matter to the AP, citing privacy grounds, meaning that any formal announcement on the subject would need to come from the 21-time Grand Slam champion. 

Djokovic, who won the 2021 Australian Open, was unable to defend his title this past January following a tense, 10-day standoff about his vaccination status. The 35-year-old Serbian was unvaccinated when he arrived at the Melbourne airport and was eventually deported after his visa was revoked on the eve of the tournament.

The matter of Djokovic’s vaccination status lingered throughout the 2021 season, as he missed five events in North America, including the U.S. Open at the end of the summer. He was able to get into France, where he lost to Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals of the French Open in June, and England, where he won his seventh Wimbledon title in July.

Djokovic has insisted throughout the year-long saga that he will not receive any doses of a COVID-19 vaccination, even it means that he will miss tennis events.

“I don’t have any regrets. I mean, I do feel sad that I wasn’t able to play (at the U.S. Open), but that was a decision that I made and I knew what the consequences would be,” Djokovic said at the Laver Cup in late September, per the AP. “So I accepted them and that’s it.”

The 2023 Australian Open will take place from January 16–29 in Melbourne.

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