MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Novak Djokovic won’t get official support with lobbying from Tennis Australia should he seek to enter the country for the first major of 2023, a year after he was deported because he was not vaccinated for COVID-19.
The 21-time Grand Slam champion was not allowed to defend his Australian Open title last January after a tumultuous 10-day legal saga that culminated with his visa being revoked on the eve of the tournament eventually won by Rafael Nadal.
Djokovic was originally granted an exemption to strict vaccination rules by two medical panels and Tennis Australia in order to play in the Australian Open but, after traveling to Melbourne believing he had all his paperwork in order, the exemption was rejected by the Australian Border Force.
“It is not a matter we can lobby on. It is a matter that definitely stays between the two of them,” Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said Wednesday at a launch for the 2023 event, referring to Djokovic and the Australian government.
“And then, depending on the outcome,” Tiley added, “we would welcome him to the Australian Open.”
Being deported made Djokovic subject to a possible three-year exclusion period that prevents the granting of a further temporary visa, although Australian Border Force in January said any exclusion period “will be considered as part of any new visa application and can be waived in certain circumstances.”
The ABF said each case is assessed on its merits.
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