Unvaccinated Djokovic hoping to play Australian Open

Novak Djokovic missed the Australian Open this year because he is not vaccinated against COVID-19.

Despite this, he is hopeful about being allowed to play the Grand Slam event in January.

“It’s really not in my hands right now,” Djokovic said on Thursday at the Laver Cup.

“So I’m hoping I will get some positive news.”

Djokovic is a 21-time Grand Slam singles champion, behind only Rafael Nadal’s 22 and one ahead of Roger Federer’s 20.

Interestingly, he has won a record nine of those trophies at Melbourne Park and will be itching to get on his hands on that trophy again and make it a ‘perfect ten’.

Tennis fans will recall that Djokovic was deported from Australia last January after a 10-day legal saga.

Originally he was granted an exemption from the strict vaccination rules by two medical panels and Tennis Australia in order to play in the Australian Open.

However, later, his visa being revoked due to national outcry.

Australia has since changed its border rules.

Since July 6, incoming travelers no longer have to have provide proof of COVID-19 vaccinations, or even provide a negative COVID test.

But there is a catch.

As per Australia’s immigration laws, “a person whose visa has been cancelled may be subject to a three-year exclusion period that prevents the grant of a further temporary visa.”

“The exclusion period will be considered as part of any new visa application and can be waived in certain circumstances, noting each case is assessed on its own merits.”

So, it boils down to what Australia’s Border force and immigration department decide.

A Tennis Australia spokesperson said on Friday that any decision on Djokovic’s visa for the January 16-29, 2023 tournament was not its to make.

Meanwhile, the 35-year-old Djokovic has insisted he will not get the shots against coronavirus, even if it means missing tennis events.

So it’s wait and watch, as of now.


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