Unvaccinated Novak Djokovic returns to Australian Open, a year after deportation due to COVID visa row

Unvaccinated Novak Djokovic returns to Australian Open, a year after deportation due to COVID visa row

Novak Djokovic was banned from entering Australia for three years for refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Tuesday, December 27, 2022, 08:30 PM IST
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World No. 1 tennis player Novak Djokovic is finally back in Australia, exactly a year after he was deported from the country for refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Djokovic landed in Adelaide ahead of the Australian Open 2023, which will begin in Melbourne from January 16.

The nine-time Australian Open champion was banned from entering the country for three years for his stance on the COVID vaccine. But the Australian government lifted the ban on the unvaccinated Serbian earlier this year.

'Welcome back Djokovic'

Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley said he hoped local fans would embrace Djokovic's return. "We welcome him back to Australia," he told reporters.

"I think as we speak he's landing in Adelaide and I think that he is going to be again the player to beat. I have a great deal of confidence in the Australian public. I have a lot of confidence that the fans will react how we hope they will react."

Tennis Australia confirmed that Djokovic has touched down. Djokovic, who has won 21 Grand Slams, has been criticised for his part in the saga, which played out as rolling anti-vaccination protests took place in Australia's major cities.

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