Novak Djokovic Faces a Battle With Officials in Order to Compete at the Australian Open


After being deported from Australia earlier the year over his Covid-19 vaccination status, Novak Djokovic now faces an anxious wait as whether he will be granted permission back into the country to compete in early 2023.

The first major of the year in Melbourne is where Djokovic has collected the most trophies among the four Grand Slams, winning the Australian Open nine times between 2009 and 2021.

However, the Serbian, who is the +150 in current tennis betting, is banned from re-entering Australia until 2025 following his deportation earlier this year due to being unvaccinated against Covid-19.

The nation enacted particularly stringent measures to battle the spread of the virus, which included sealing their borders completely at the height of the pandemic. While those entering do not need to prove their vaccination status anymore, Djokovic now faces the arduous prospect of appealing to the government in order to compete in January of next year.

The Australian government can waive the three-year ban at its discretion if they deem it necessary.

Tennis Australia head-honcho Crag Tiley added that the tournament organisers would welcome the nine-time champion back t0 Melbourne Park, but admitted it is up to the government as to whether he will return.

“It’s not a matter we can lobby on,” said Tiley.

“Novak and the federal government need to work out the situation and then we’ll follow any instruction after that.

“It’s a matter that definitely stays between the two of them and then depending on the outcome of that we would welcome him to the Australian Open.”

Unfortunately for the Wimbledon champions, the country’s Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews openly opposed overturning Djokovic’s ban, claiming it would be a “slap in the face” for Australians who have the vaccine.

Immigration law specialist Dushan Nikolic gave his take on the matter, saying: “He’d have to show that there are compelling circumstances in the interest of Australia to lift that bar.

“A potential argument may be that it’s in Australia’s interests to have the best tennis player able to compete over the next three years at the Australian Open.”

The changing nature of attitudes towards vaccination status in Australia would also work in Djokovic’s favour, which may help when factoring in his arguments to overturn the ban.

The 35-year-old enters the tournament fresh off an impressive five set victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final of the Astana Open in Kazakhstan, claiming his 90th ATP title in the process.

He will certainly be fresher than most after also being barred from competing at the US Open in September over his refusal to receive the vaccine.



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