The Serbian tennis player was given a three-year ban and deported from the country on the eve of the 2022 tournament. His positive diagnosis for Covid-19 was not enough to be given an exemption to be in Australia at that time, as all visitors had to be vaccinated.
Australia’s then-Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said that Djokovic’s stance on vaccination had drawn attention and that his arrival in the country might have caused “civil unrest.”
However, in a surprise turn of events, new Immigration Minister, Andrew Giles, is reportedly set to grant Djokovic a visa, overturning the three-year ban that was imposed in January.
Since the last tournament, Australia has overturned its requirement for entrants to be vaccinated; Djokovic’s lawyers have spent months trying to get the ban overturned.
On Monday night after winning his opening match at the ATP finals, Djokovic reported he was still waiting to hear a verdict from the Australian government.
“We are waiting,” he said. “They are communicating with the government of Australia. That’s all I can tell you for now.”
Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley expressed optimism that Djokovic may be able to play in the upcoming tournament.
He said, “There’s a normal visa application process that everyone is going though right now, and everyone will go through the right timing.”
“I don’t think there should be any preferential treatment for anyone,” he continued, “That’s entirely up to the Australian government. I know Novak wants to come and play and to get back competing.”
“He loves Australia and it’s where he’s had the best success, but the timing is up to somebody else, and we’ll just play that one by ear.”