After missing the 2022 Australian Open due to his unvaccinated status, Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic will be able to participate in 2023. Djokovic will be granted a visa to enter the country, the Australian government confirmed on Wednesday
Australian immigration minister Andrew Giles has chosen to overturn the decision to ban Djokovic for three years, which occurred when he was deported prior to the 2022 Australian Open. In a statement to the Associated Press, Giles confirmed that Djokovic would get a temporary visa to enter Australia.
Djokovic also released a statement on the decision, and the Serbian tennis star said he was relieved to find out that he could play in next year's tournament, which will begin on Jan. 16.
"I was very happy to receive the news yesterday," Djokovic said. "It was a relief, obviously, knowing what I and the people closest to me in my life have been through this year with what happened in Australia and post-Australia. Australian Open has been my most successful Grand Slam. I made some of the best memories there. Of course, I want to go back there, I want to play tennis, do what I do best, hopefully have a great Australian summer."
At the time of Djokovic's original ban, former immigration minister Alex Hawke chose to cancel Djokovic's visa because allowing him to play while unvaccinated may cause "civil unrest." Since then, the country has lifted its requirement that all visitors must be vaccinated.
In October, Australian Open directorat the event in 2023, as long as the government approved his visa.
"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."
Djokovic won the Australian Open in 2021 -- his ninth title in Melbourne, but he was not able to defend his title in 2022. Instead, Rafael Nadal won the tournament for the second time in his career.
While he wasn't able to play in the Australian Open or the US Open in 2022, Djokovic was eligible to play in the French Open and Wimbledon, and he fared quite well in both tournaments. Djokovic lost to Nadal in the quarterfinals of the French Open, and he won his seventh Wimbledon title.