Novak Djokovic is BACK in Australia! Serbian tennis star returns Down Under nearly 12 months after being deported over vaccination status as Australian Open chief delights in his arrival
- Novak Djokovic has touched down in Australia ahead of the Australian Open
- The 35-year-old was deported almost 12 months ago over his vaccination status
- However, his three-year ban was recently overturned, allowing him to return
- Tennis chief Craig Tilley is hopeful Australia will give him a warm welcome
Novak Djokovic has arrived in Australia nearly 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 landed in Adelaide where he is due to play in the Adelaide International beginning on 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 he was deported
In November, the Australian government granted the Serbian a visa to travel to the Grand Slam event, saying it had decided to revoke 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 have been removed in Australia, 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 would be arriving in Australia and voiced hopes he would be welcomed.
He was forced to leave Australia almost 12 months ago due to his vaccination status
“I think that he is going to be again the player to beat,” said Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley. ‘I have a great deal of confidence in the Australian public.
‘We’re a very well-educated sporting public, particularly those who come to the tennis, they love their tennis, they love seeing greatness, they love seeing great athleticism, great matches.
‘And I have a lot of confidence that the fans will react like we hope they would react and have respect for that.’
Australian Open chief Craig Tilley is optimistic the nation will welcome him with open arms
Djokovic’s representatives 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 favoured to claim a 10th Australian Open crown, which would bring him level with Rafa Nadal on 22 Grand Slam titles.
The 2023 Australian Open takes place at Melbourne Park from Jan. 16-29.