Novak Djokovic returns to Australia a year after he was deported

Novak Djokovic arrived in Australia almost a year after he was deported due to his position on vaccination against COVID-19, Tennis Australia has confirmed.

Djokovic kicks off his 2023 campaign in Adelaide as he prepares to search for his 10th Australian Open title.

The Australian government has granted the winner of 21 major titles a visa and is scheduled to contest the Adelaide International, which begins on Sunday.

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

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley told 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).”

The Australian Open runs from January 16 to 29 in Melbourne.

Djokovic missed last year’s Grand Slam because he refused to take a COVID-19 vaccine. 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.

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 Nole’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.

“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.”

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“I am very confident that the fans will react as we expect them to react and that they will respect all of that.”

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