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Djokovic to be granted visa to play in Australian Open despite high-profile deportation

A yr after Novak Djokovic’s high-profile deportation from Australia as a result of he isn’t vaccinated towards COVID-19, the 21-time Grand Slam champion is about to be granted a visa to enter the nation so he can compete on the Australian Open in January.

The Australian Broadcasting Corp. stated Tuesday it had confirmed newspaper reviews that the immigration minister would put apart a possible three-year ban from entry that Djokovic, a 35-year-old from Serbia, had confronted as a international citizen whose visa was revoked.

The Australian Border Force beforehand defined that exclusion interval might be waived in sure circumstances — and that every case would be assessed on its deserves.

Immigration Minister Andrew Giles’ workplace declined to touch upon privateness grounds.

CBC Sports has not independently verified the report.

Djokovic’s representatives didn’t instantly reply Tuesday to a request for remark. He presently is taking part in the season-ending ATP Finals in Turin, Italy, the place he received his opening match Monday towards Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 7-6 (4) and is subsequent scheduled to play — and communicate to the media — on Wednesday towards Andrey Rublev.

After Monday’s victory, Djokovic indicated that his legal professionals had been in contact with the Australian authorities with a watch to him having the ability to contest the Australian Open, which runs from Jan. 16-29.

This display seize from AFPTV reveals Serbia’s Novak Djokovic, centre, as he disembarks from his aircraft on the airport in Dubai on January 17, 2022, after dropping a authorized battle on January 16 in Australia to keep and play in the Australian Open tennis match over his COVID-19 vaccination standing. (STR/AFPTV/AFP through Getty Images)

The nine-time Australian Open champion was not allowed to search a tenth title at Melbourne Park after a tumultuous 10-day authorized saga early this yr over his COVID-19 vaccination standing that culminated together with his visa being taken away on the eve of the match.

Djokovic arrived at Melbourne Airport with a visa he had obtained on-line through what he believed to be a legitimate medical exemption from the nation’s strict legal guidelines governing unvaccinated guests. His software had been endorsed by Tennis Australia and the federal government of Victoria state, which hosts the match.

Confusion reigned, producing international headlines. As it turned out, that obvious medical exemption allowed him to enter the match — which, in idea, required all gamers, followers and officers to be vaccinated towards the coronavirus — however not essentially to enter the nation, and it was rejected by the Australian Border Force.

Alex Hawke, Australia’s immigration minister on the time, used discretionary powers to cancel Djokovic’s visa on character grounds, stating he was a “talisman of a neighborhood of anti-vaccine sentiment.”

‘I haven’t got any regrets’

Australia has had a change of presidency since and altered its border guidelines this yr. Since July, incoming vacationers now not have to present proof of receiving photographs towards COVID-19. That eliminated the most important barrier to entry for Djokovic, who says he has not been — and won’t be — vaccinated towards the coronavirus, even when it means he misses necessary tennis tournaments.

Indeed, he sat out the U.S. Open in September, and different occasions in the United States, as a result of he couldn’t fly into the nation as an unvaccinated international citizen. He was allowed to play in the French Open, the place he misplaced in the quarter-finals, and at Wimbledon, which he received.

“I haven’t got any regrets. I imply, I do really feel unhappy that I wasn’t in a position to play [at the U.S. Open], however that was a choice that I made and I knew what the results would be,” Djokovic stated in September on the Laver Cup in London. “So I accepted them and that is it.”

Djokovic has spent extra weeks at No. 1 in the ATP rankings than anybody else, breaking Roger Federer’s file, and is No. 8 in the intervening time, in half due to a scarcity of exercise and in half as a result of there have been no rating factors awarded to anybody at Wimbledon this yr.

Australia’s adjustments allowed Djokovic to apply to Giles to rethink his visa standing. In Djokovic’s favor had been two different elements: He left Australia shortly after his visa was revoked 10 months in the past, and he has not publicly criticized Australian authorities.

As the Department of Home Affairs web site explains, candidates in Djokovic’s circumstances should clarify in writing why the exclusion interval ought to be put apart, saying, “You should present us that there are compassionate or compelling circumstances to put apart your re-entry ban and grant you the visa.”

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