Novak Djokovic - Australian Open 2021

Novak Djokovic returns to Australia following deportation drama

Novak Djokovic has stepped foot on Australian soil for the first time since January, when he was deported over his Covid-19 vaccination status.

When Djokovic arrived down under for the 2022 Australian Open, Covid cases were soaring and government rules required anyone entering the country to be vaccinated.

The 21-time Grand Slam champion originally entered the country claiming that he had obtained a medical exemption, as he had contracted coronavirus in the six months prior.

However, Australian Border Force questioned the validity of this, forcing the Serb to be stay in an immigration hotel. After a ten day court hearing, the government ruled that Djokovic did not meet the requirements for entry.

His visa was subsequently cancelled ‘in the public interest’ meaning that he would automatically be unable to return to Australia until 2025.

But, last month there was another twist as Djokovic’s deportation ruling was overturned by the new Australian Immigration Minister Andrew Giles.

Therefore, he is now allowed back into the country where he has won nine major titles, to which the Serb said he was ‘very happy’ in reacting to the news.

“The Australian Open has been my most successful Grand Slam,” Djokovic said, “I made some of the best memories there.”

“After obviously what happened earlier this year, hopefully I can have a decent reception there and hopefully that can help me play some good tennis.”

Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley seems to have no doubts that the Australian public will receive Djokovic with open arms upon his return, “I have a great deal of confidence in the Australian public. I have a lot of confidence that the fans will react how we hope they will react.”

Djokovic will begin his 2023 season at the Adelaide International, beginning 2nd January, before attempting to claim a record tenth Australian Open title later on in the month.

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.