Novak Djokovic is BACK in Australia! Serbian tennis star returns to bottom nearly 12 months after being deported over vaccination status as Australian Open chief welcomes his arrival
- Novak Djokovic has arrived in Australia ahead of the Australian Open
- The 35-year-old was deported almost 12 months ago because of his vaccination status
- However, his three-year ban was recently lifted, allowing him to return
- Tennis chief Craig Tilley hopes Australia will give him a warm welcome
Novak Djokovic has arrived in Australia almost a year after he was deported from the country ahead of his bid for a 10th men’s singles title at next month’s Australian Open.
Djokovic has arrived in Adelaide where he is set to play in the Adelaide International starting Sunday, officials have confirmed.
The 35-year-old was deported on the eve of this year’s tournament in Melbourne after he arrived in the country without being vaccinated against COVID-19.
Novak Djokovic has returned to Australia for the first time since his deportation
In November, the Australian government granted the Serbian a visa to travel to the Grand Slam event, saying it had decided to reverse the decision to cancel Djokovic’s visa after considering all relevant factors.
Since the cancellation of Djokovic’s visa in January 2022, all COVID-related border restrictions in Australia have been lifted, including the requirement to provide evidence of vaccination status to enter the country.
Earlier on Tuesday, Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley told reporters that Djokovic was coming to Australia and expressed hope that he would be welcomed.
He was forced to leave Australia almost 12 months ago because of his vaccination status
“I think he’s again the player to beat,” said Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley. ‘I have great confidence in the Australian public.
‘We’re a well-educated sporting public, especially tennis goers, they love their tennis, they love to see greatness, they love to see great athleticism, great matches.
‘And I have a lot of confidence that the fans will react the way we hope they will react and have respect for that.’
Australian Open chief Craig Tilley is optimistic the country will welcome him with open arms
Representatives for Djokovic and Tennis Australia did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Serbian former world number one won the season-ending ATP Finals last month and will be favored to claim a 10th Australian Open crown, which would take him level with Rafa Nadal on 22 Grand Slam titles.
The 2023 Australian Open will be held at Melbourne Park from January 16-29.