Novak Djokovic visa ban overturned ahead of Australian Open

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The path has been cleared for Novak Djokovic to play in the Australian Open, after the Australian government overturned a visa ban.

The Serbian tennis star was detained in January over his refusal to be vaccinated against Covid.

He was deported from the country 10 days later, despite mounting a successful legal challenge.

At times dubbed “Fortress Australia”, the country had some of the strictest pandemic restrictions in the world.

When Djokovic arrived in Australia in January, Covid cases were skyrocketing and government rules required anyone entering the country to be vaccinated unless they had a valid medication exemption.

He did not meet the requirements for entry, the government said, so his visa was canceled and he was automatically banned from entering the country for three years.

But Immigration Minister Andrew Giles – whose government came to power in May – has overturned the ban and is set to grant Djokovic a visa.

Speaking earlier Tuesday, Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley said he was confident that Djokovic would play in next year’s Open.

“I know Novak wants to come and play and to get back to competing,” he said.

“He loves Australia and it’s where he’s had the best success.”

The tennis champion earlier this year said he flew into Australia believing he had obtained the medical exemptions required.

But he was detained and questioned by border officials in Melbourne on 5 January, and his visa was canceled in the early hours of the following morning.

Agencies

 

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