Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic already on Australia where he will compete in the Open in January, a year after being deported from the country for not having been vaccinated against covid-19, the Australian tennis federation confirmed this Wednesday.
The Serbian tennis player, who seeks to win his twenty-second Grand Slam – and draw with the Spanish Rafael Nadal– landed in the country on Tuesday night, a year after he was deported by authorities last January, shortly before the start of the Australian Open, and also banned from returning to the country for three years.
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The controversy arose after he tried to enter the country with a medical exemption in order to play the tournament, the first major of the season, without being vaccinated against covid-19, a requirement to compete then.
However, authorities last month lifted the ban on the tennis player, to which Djokovic replied that he was “very happy” and “relieved”.
“We confirm that Novak has arrived in Australia for the Adelaide International” (a tournament prior to the first Grand Slam dispute), a spokesperson for Tennis Australia, the highest authority for that sport in the oceanic country, told EFE, adding that “there will be more information about its schedule in the coming days”.
For his part, the director of the Australian Open, Craig Tiley, welcomed the Serbian tennis player and indicated in a press conference the day before that Djokovic will be the “player to beat.”
“Novak is welcome in Australia” and “he will be the player to beat (at the Australian Open) again,” he said. Current number five in the world and winner of five titles in 2022 -among them Wimbledon-, Djokovic arrives in the oceanic country as one of the great favorites to win the australian openin which he won nine times.
The Serb missed the 2022 Australian Open after the government detained him at the airport after questioning the validity of his medical exemption, for which it ordered his deportation for contravening the measures against the covid-19which required travelers to have the full schedule of the vaccine or a valid receipt.
Djokovic, who was locked up in a hotel guarded by Immigration, appealed the decision of the authorities but after an intense legal battle, the plenary session of the Australian Federal Court considered that the presence of the player in the oceanic country posed a risk to health and order public.
The tennis player was eventually deported and banned from entering the country for three years. Djokovic’s lawyers in Australia have been seeking the suspension of this entry ban for months, arguing that the oceanic country has already lifted all the restrictions imposed by the pandemic.
The Djokovic scandal came at a time when Australia, which tightly closed its borders during the health crisis, was facing a surge in covid-19 cases.
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