Novak Djokovic to be granted visa for Australian Open: Reports
Serbia's Novak Djokovic is set to receive his visa for the 2023 Australian Open. The 21-time Grand Slam winner missed the tournament this year after refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Djokovic, who arrived in Australia with a COVID-19 vaccine exemption, was deported ahead of the 2022 edition. The 35-year-old lost his last-ditch court bid to stay in Australia before receiving a three-year ban.
Why does this story matter?
- In January 2022, Djokovic arrived in Australia with a COVID-19 vaccine exemption.
- However, the border authorities canceled his visa upon arrival.
- He was sent to immigration detention before his lawyers filed an appeal.
- Although his team won the case, the government re-canceled his visa.
- The judges rejected Djokovic's appeal thereafter.
- After some intense drama, Djokovic could be cleared to play the tournament this time.
The official statement of Tournament Director Craig Tiley
As per the media reports, the current Immigration Minister Andrew Giles might allow Djokovic to compete at the 2023 Australian Open. Tournament Director Craig Tiley suggested that "no preferential treatment" will be given to anyone. "There's a normal visa application process that everyone is going through right now, and everyone will go through the right timing," Tiley told AAP on Tuesday.
What about his ban in Australia?
Although Djokovic won the first appeal in 2022, Australia's Immigration Minister re-canceled his visa, stating that he would "excite anti-vax sentiment". After getting his second appeal rejected, Djokovic received a three-year ban. Earlier this year, it was reported that the ban can be overturned through an appeal. As per Herald Sun, the government sources confirmed that he will be cleared for the Australian Open.
Why did Djokovic miss the US Open?
Earlier this year, the Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) removed the vaccine mandate for American citizens. This gave Djokovic a glimmer of hope to feature at the 2022 US Open. However, the guidelines relating to non-citizens reversed, giving the Serbian a setback. Djokovic maintained his stance of not getting vaccinated against the novel coronavirus and thereby missed the US Open too.
Djokovic has won the Australian Open nine times
Djokovic has won the Australian Open most times (9). He has three more titles than Roy Emerson and Roger Federer (6 each). The Serbian is 82-8 at this Slam. He owns a win percentage of 91. He has a perfect record in the finals of the Australian Open (9-0). Djokovic, who won in 2021, eyes a record-equaling 22nd Grand Slam title.
Djokovic won his 21st major title at Wimbledon
Djokovic won a record-equaling seventh Wimbledon title in July. He beat Australia's Nick Kyrgios in the 2022 men's singles final. With a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(3) win over Kyrgios, the 35-year-old claimed his 21st Grand Slam title, now the second-most after that of Spain's Rafael Nadal (22). Djokovic now has the joint-second-most Wimbledon titles with Pete Sampras and William Renshaw.