Novak Djokovic has addressed his Australian Open return for the first time since the Australian federal government decided to overturn his three-year ban on entering the country. The world No 8 received an automatic sanction stopping him from entering Australia until 2025 after he was deported at the start of this year and has since spent months waiting to learn his fate before it was reported on Tuesday that the government would allow him to return in time for January’s Australian Open.
Djokovic received the news he had been waiting for on Tuesday morning as it was reported that the Australian federal government made the decision to overturn his three-year ban on entering the country. The nine-time Aussie Open champion had his visa cancelled twice before he was deported on the eve of the tournament this year as it was ruled his presence would “excite anti-vax sentiment” in the country.
All people deported from Australia automatically get banned from returning to the country for three years but have the right to apply for an appeal, and the 35-year-old was successful in his. Djokovic has now reacted to the news for the first time following his 6-4 6-1 win over Andrey Rublev at the ATP Finals, and said the verdict was playing on his mind during Wednesday’s match.
“Well, of course, I was very happy to receive the news yesterday,” Djokovic told reporters in Turin. “Yeah, it was a relief obviously knowing what I and people closest to me in my life have been through this year with what happened in Australia and post Australia obviously. I could not receive better news for sure – during this tournament as well.”
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“Of course, knowing that I have clarity now, what I do in the off-season, starting the season in Australia, also of course did relieve some of the pressure me and my team felt,” he explained. “Just giving that clarity makes it great for us.
“Australian Open has been my most successful Grand Slam. I made some of the best memories there. Of course, I want to go back there, I want to play tennis, do what I do best, hopefully have a great Australian summer.”