It is official! Novak Djokovic will play at the 2023 Australian Open after the 21-time Grand Slam winner confirmed that his visa ban has been overturned.
News that the federal government of Australia had scrapped his three-year visa ban broke on Tuesday, but new Immigration Minister Andrew Giles left the announcement to Djokovic due to privacy laws.
And the former world No 1 duly obliged after his victory over Andrey Rublev at the ATP Finals on Wednesday.
“I was very happy to receive the news yesterday. It was a relief,” the nine-time Australian Open champion said.
“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. Australian Open has been my most successful Grand Slams. 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.”
Djokovic was deported from Australia in January this year after his visa was revoked the then immigration minister, Alex Hawke, used his personal powers to scrap the document due to fears he would stoke anti-vax sentiment in the country.
It resulted in an automatic three-year ban, but the episode can now be put to bed.
On the court Djokovic produced another classy performance as he brushed aside Rublev 6-4, 6-1 in just over an hour to secure his place in the semi-final of the season-ending tournament in Turin.
He dropped only three points on serve in the opening set and broke in game 10 to go one love up while breaks in games two and six of the second set earned him the victory.
“I played very, very well. One of the best matches of the year without a doubt,” the five-time ATP Finals champion said. “He is a tough opponent. A great competitor. He possesses a lot of strengths in his game. I managed to find the right attitude and the right game.
“In the 10th game of the first set, I think he was 40/30 and we played a long rally and I just stayed in there and told myself chances will come. He went down in his energy a little in the second [set] and I wanted to use the momentum and energy from my side in the first few games and it was a flawless second set.”
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