After months of speculation and Australian officials dragging their feet, it’s official, Novak Djokovic will be allowed to compete in the 2023 Australian Open.
Djokovic was forced to miss both the US Open and the Australian Open in 2022 after choosing not to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Serbian was deported from Australia last January after a 10-day legal saga that ended with his visa being provoked. Originally, Joker was granted an exemption from Australia’s extremely strict vaccination rules to play in last year’s tournament, but that exemption was quickly reversed.
People who are deported from Australia automatically receive a three-year ban from returning to the country. But an exception has been made for Djokovic ahead of next year’s Aussie Open.
It’s worth noting that new government leaders have taken office in Australia and the decision-makers who kicked Djokovic out of the country last year no longer have authority.
Djokovic Going Back Down Under
The news of Djokovic being allowed to play in the 2023 Australian Open comes a few weeks after tournament director Craig Tiley hinted that he’d be allowed to do so.
“We are on track to have all the top players back,” Tiley noted during a recent press conference. “We are at a different point in time now than we were nine months ago and I think it’s a very different environment with people traveling freely around the world and we hope to have all the best players here in January.”
Djokovic has won nine Australian Opens in his career, including three straight between 2019 and 2021.