Australia overturns Novak Djokovic visa ban ahead of Australian Open

by IANS |

Canberra, Nov 17 (IANS) The Australian government has overturned a ban on tennis star Novak Djokovic entering the country, clearing his way to compete in the Australian Open.

Andrew Giles, the Minister for Immigration, on Thursday confirmed that Djokovic has been granted a temporary visa to enter the country, Xinhua reports.

It comes about 10 months after the Serbian was detained in Melbourne on the eve of the Grand Slam for attempting to enter the country without being vaccinated against COVID-19.
Following a legal battle, Djokovic was deported and automatically banned from entering Australia for three years.

Giles' decision overturns that ban.

In a statement, he said strict border restrictions that banned unvaccinated non-citizens from entering the country have been lifted.

"Since the cancellation of Mr Djokovic's visa in January 2022, all COVID-19-related Australian border restrictions under the Biosecurity Act 2015 have been removed, including the requirement to provide evidence of COVID-19 vaccination status to enter Australia."

Prior to being deported Djokovic was aiming for a fourth straight men's singles title at Melbourne Park.

Speaking in Turin at the ATP Finals, Djokovic said he was "very happy" to be returning to Australia.

"I could not receive better news for sure - during this tournament as well. The Australian Open has been my most successful grand slam. I made some of the best memories there," he said.

The 2023 Australian Open will run from January 16-29.

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