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Australian government sanctions visa for Novak Djokovic: Reports

Tennis star Novak Djokovic might be granted a visa to enter Australia for the Australian Open 2023, after he was denied the same last year. The Serbian tennis player was denied entry into the tournament last year after he failed to meet the necessary vaccination criteria. 

New Australian immigration minister Andrew Giles might overturn the three-year ban on the player. Djokovic is likely to be allowed to feature in the competition where he has found most success in his entire career and will be looking to add a 22nd grandslam title to his cabinet, to put him on level terms with Rafael Nadal. 

In January 2022 the then Coalition government revoked Djokovic’s visa as recent Covid diagnosis did not justify an exemption to Australia’s requirement for visitors to be vaccinated. Although he received a grant from the federal court back then, the then immigration minister Alex Hawke decided to cancel his visa, as he wanted to avoid civil unrest among Australians. 

Djokovic lost a second federal court case after that which resulted in his deportation from the country just days before the Australian Open began. Rafael Nadal went on to win the tournament beating Daniil Medvedev, keeping Djoker waiting for his 10th Australia Open title. 

Australian government has since cooled down on the situation, overturning its requirement for visitors to be vaccinated. To overturn the three-year ban, the minister must be satisfied that compelling circumstances exist to let a person who had previously had their visa revoked to return. 

Speaking to the reporters in Turin ahead of the ATP Finals, Novak Djokovic suggested that nothing has been confirmed as yet but things look positive. He said that his team are awaiting an official confirmation.

Director of Australian Open, Craig Tiley suggested that he is confident of a change in scenario. “He (Djokovic) understands the circumstances and everything but he’s got to work it out with the federal government. I’m confident they’ll reach some arrangement and hopefully it’s positive,” Tiley said. 

Novak Djokovic’s only grandslam triumph in 2022 came in Wimbledon, where he defeated Australian Nick Kyrgios in four sets. He lost the French Open final in straight sets to Rafael Nadal and was not allowed to feature in the US Open due to his COVID vaccination status.