After missing the 2022 Australian Open due to his vaccination status, tennis star Novak Djokovic may be able to compete in the tournament next year. Australian Open director Craig Tiley said that Djokovic would be welcome at the event in 2023, according to Insider.
Back in January, Djokovic was deported from Australia ahead of the tournament because he was not vaccinated against COVID-19. At the moment, Djokovic is barred from re-entering the country until 2025, unless he is able to work something out with the government.
Tiley said that, if Djokovic and the Australian government can reach some kind of agreement, Djokovic will be allowed to participate in the Australian Open.
"At this point, Novak and the federal government need to work out the situation and then we'll follow any instruction after that," Tiley said. "It's not a matter we can lobby on. 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."
The bad news for Djokovic is that Australian Shadow Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews isn't keen on making an exception for the tennis superstar.
"It would be a slap in the face for those people in Australia who did the right thing... if all of a sudden, Novak Djokovic is allowed back into the country, simply because he is a high-ranking tennis player with many millions of dollars," Andrews told ABC Radio Melbourne.
In 2022, Djokovic was forced to miss the Australian Open and the U.S. Open due to his vaccination status. He did take part in the French Open and Wimbledon, winning the latter.