The Australian government has decided to grant a visa to Novak Djokovic allowing him to participate in the Australian Open in January, a year after his expulsion from the country linked to his lack of vaccination against Covid, reported Tuesday 15 November the ABC television channel and other media, without further details.
The case seemed to be on the right track in recent weeks, thanks to the change of government in Australia, the conservative coalition in power at the time of the expulsion of the Serb having since been replaced by a centre-left cabinet led by the Labor Anthony Albanese.
While currently playing the ATP Masters in Turin (Italy), the former world number one, winner of the Australian Open nine times, was still cautious on Monday. “There is nothing official yet. We are waiting. [Mes avocats] are talking to the Australian government, that’s all I can say at this time”said the Serb.
Last month, Australian Open director Craig Tiley said he had spent time with Mr Djokovic and assured that the player wanted to play the first Grand Slam of 2023. “He said he would obviously like to come back to Australia, but he knows the final decision will be up to the federal government”explained this official to the Australian newspaper The Age. Mr. Tiley also took the opportunity to urge the two parties to find a solution. “What we’re saying at this point is that Novak and the feds need to fix the situation. We will follow any instruction [fixée] after that “he commented.
A tormented 2022 season
It was no longer his unvaccinated status that prevented the twenty-one Grand Slam title star’s presence in Melbourne, Australia having lifted the requirement for visitors to present proof of vaccination, but the ban of territory to which he is subject in that country. Last January, after being detained on his arrival in Melbourne, Djokovic had indeed been expelled and sentenced to a three-year ban on entering the territory, after an intense legal battle.
The refusal to vaccinate against Covid-19 largely upset the 2022 season of the 35-year-old Serbian champion. In addition to the Australian Open in January, he had to give up the US Open this summer, entry into the United States remaining subject to the vaccination obligation. Beaten in the quarter-finals at Roland-Garros by Rafael Nadal, Djokovic had previously resumed his march forward at Wimbledon, at the start of the summer, where he won his 21e major tournament.
However, this victory did not bring him the slightest point in the world rankings since the grass tournament had been sanctioned by the ATP and the WTA (which respectively manage the male and female professional circuits) for having refused the participation of Russian and Belarusian players. , in response to the war in Ukraine led by Moscow and supported by Minsk.
Despite these pitfalls, the Serb managed to qualify for the Turin Masters, which brings together the eight best players of the season. On Monday, he won his first meeting against the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas. Novak Djokovic is due to play his next game on Wednesday against Russian Andrey Rublev.