Novak Djokovic ‘cleared’ to return to Melbourne Park next year to take part in the Australian Open

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Novak Djokovic in action Credit: PA Images
Novak Djokovic in action Credit: PA Images

Novak Djokovic looks set to make his Australian Open and Grand Slam return at Melbourne Park in January next year as it is being reported that his travel ban is set to be overturned.

The Serbian was unable to defend his title Down Under at the start of 2021 following a protracted squabble over his visa and his unvaccinated status.

Djokovic travelled to Australia for the season-opening Grand Slam as he had a visa exemption to enter the country. However, he was detained at the airport upon arrival and his visa was revoked as he failed to provide “appropriate evidence” for entry, but he launched an appeal and it was overturned by a judge.

The country’s Immigration Minister Alex Hawke then got involved as he withdrew the visa for a second time, this time out of fears the Serbian would invoke anti-vaccination sentiment. Djokovic again appealed, but the original decision was upheld and he was eventually deported.

Deportation from Australia resulted in an automatic three-year ban from entering the country, but the Herald-Sun reports that he “will be cleared to return to the Australian Open in January”.

Australia held a general election earlier this year and new Immigration Minster Andrew Giles has “decided in principle” to overturn the 35-year-old’s travel ban if he appeals.

Djokovic returned to Grand Slam action at the French Open in May, reaching the quarter-final, while he successfully defended his Wimbledon trophy in July to win his 21st Grand Slam title.

However, he was unable to take part in the season-ending US Open at Flushing Meadows as the United States government regulations state that unvaccinated foreign citizens are not allowed to enter the country.

He left it until the last minute to confirm his withdrawal from the event as he pulled out two hours before the draw was due to take place.

“I’ll keep in good shape and positive spirit and wait for an opportunity to compete again. See you soon tennis world!” he wrote on social media.

He was initially set to make his comeback at Davis Cup group games in Valencia next week, but withdrew from Serbia’s squad due to “personal reasons”.

The Laver Cup, which runs from September 23-25 at London’s O2 Arena, is next on his agenda while he is also accepted entries for the ATP 250 Tel Aviv Open from September 26 and the Paris Masters (October 31).

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