Novak Djokovic US Open 2021

Australian Open boss denies reports Novak Djokovic will sue and confirms he will play in 2023

Craig Tiley feels Tennis Australia “always tried to do the right thing” to get unvaccinated players to the Australian Open and denies reports Novak Djokovic will sue for $6 million.

World number one Djokovic was deported just one day before the Australian Open got underway after his medical exemption and visa was cancelled not once, but twice.

After having the original cancellation overturned in court, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke took the executive decision to overrule the court’s hearing and cancelled his visa once and for all.

This came despite a leaked email from Tennis Australia, sent to players at the start of December, that suggested players who have had a Covid-19 infection in the past six months may be eligible for a medical exemption and would be permitted to play.

There were multiple players who applied for such an exemption, including 20-time Slam champion Djokovic and Czech doubles player Renata Voracova, both of which were deported.

After the 11-day saga, rumours began to circulate that Djokovic would be pursuing legal action to sue the Australian Government for $6 million ($4.3 million or £3.2 million) for ‘ill treatment.’

However, in an interview with Australian broadcaster ABC Tennis Australia chief executive and Australian Open director Tiley denied reports Djokovic will be suing.

Tiley said “there is going to be lots of reports on different things, but we are in a position as we focus on delivering an event right now, and we will continue to deliver a great event.

“Obviously, he’s (Djokovic) got to play out this year, but that will be his intention (to play next year). At the end of the day, he’s the number one player in the world and he really loves the Australian Open.

“It’s important to know we have always tried to do the right thing … We were at the beginning of Omicron and that’s why we were constantly seeking clarity and there was a lot of complexity and contradiction of information before, after and there continues to be all the way through.

“Leading into the event were forever-changing conditions. You seek clarity, and one or two bits of communication doesn’t define all the amounts of communication that continued to go on leading into the event.

“It was an incredibly challenging environment. We knew we were going to have a difficult period and that’s why there was a lot of contradiction and complexity with information.”

Tiley also responded “yes” when asked whether Djokovic would return for the 2023 edition of the Australian Open, a Grand Slam he has won a record nine times.

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.