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Novak Djokovic returns to Australia a year after his deportation for not being vaccinated against COVID-19

2022-12-28T14:26:30.143Z


The Serbian tennis player, number five in the world, will compete in the first Grand Slam of the season, which will take place between January 16 and 29.


By

The Associated Press

SYDNEY — Tennis player Novak Djokovic has landed in Australia, where he will compete in the first Grand Slam of the season in January, almost a year after he was deported for not being vaccinated against COVID-19, the Australian tennis federation confirmed.

Djokovic kicks off the tennis season in Adelaide as he prepares to seek his 10th Australian Open title and win his 22nd Grand Slam, drawing with Rafael Nadal of Spain.

[Swiss tennis player Roger Federer announces his retirement at the age of 41 after winning 20 titles]

The Government of the country granted him a visa and he is scheduled to play the Adelaide International, which will begin on Sunday.

The 35-year-old Serb arrived in Adelaide on Tuesday night, the governing body confirmed.

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley indicated at a news conference on Tuesday that Djokovic had arrived.

"Novak is welcome in Australia," Tiley said.

“I think as I speak he is coming to Adelaide and he is going to be the player to beat again (at the Australian Open),” he added.

The tournament will be held from January 16 to 29 in Melbourne.

[Serena Williams had to choose between tennis or being a mother.

"It's not fair, if she were a man she would be winning," she says announcing her withdrawal]

Djokovic missed last year's Grand Slam because he was not vaccinated against COVID-19.

Australia has since lifted restrictions on unvaccinated travelers.

Immigration Minister Andrew Giles confirmed last month that Djokovic, who was facing a possible three-year ban after being deported, has received a visa.

Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic arrives on Center Court in Adelaide, Australia, on Wednesday.Mark Brake/Getty Images

Djokovic has won the Australian Open a record nine times, including the last three editions in which he has participated.

Rafael Nadal won the title in 2022 in the Serb's absence.

Questions remain as to how Australian fans will receive Djokovic this year.

Tiley told reporters Tuesday that he thinks he will be well received.

[The US Open confirms that Novak Djokovic cannot play if he does not get vaccinated against COVID-19]

“I have great confidence in the Australian public,” Tiley warned.

“We are a very educated sports public, especially with regards to tennis.

They love tennis, they love to see greatness, they love to see great athleticism, great matches."

"I am very confident that the fans will react as we expect you to react and that they respect all of that," he concluded.

Source: telemundo

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