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Australian tennis boss discusses Djokovic entry chances

The Serb was deported from Australia in January in an ugly saga surrounding his vaccination status

The Australian Open would welcome the participation of nine-time champion Novak Djokovic next year but cannot lobby the government to allow the Serb to enter the country, tournament director Craig Tiley has said.

Djokovic was prevented from appearing in this year’s edition of the Grand Slam after being deported from Australia in an unsavory row surrounding his vaccination status.

Djokovic, who is not vaccinated against Covid-19, had arrived with a medical exemption to compete in Melbourne, only to be detained by border officials before ultimately losing a legal battle to remain in the country after intervention from Immigration Minister Alex Hawke.

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Djokovic’s deportation meant an automatic three-year re-entry ban, although officials can intervene to grant a waiver, should they see fit.

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Djokovic is gearing up for the Laver Cup in London.
Djokovic has ‘no regrets’ on vaccine stance

Australian Open chief Craig Tiley, who is also head of Tennis Australia, told reporters on Wednesday that Djokovic would be welcomed back with open arms in January – but that his entry into the country was a matter for the player and the Australian government to resolve.

“It is not a matter we can lobby on. It is a matter that definitely stays between the two of them,” Tiley said, according to the AP.

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“And then, depending on the outcome, we would welcome him to the Australian Open.”

Australia relaxed its entry rules in July and no longer requires foreign visitors to provide proof of vaccination against Covid-19, meaning Djokovic’s refusal to get jabbed would not be an issue under current regulations.


READ MORE: Djokovic wife slams magazine as vaccine row swirls

Tiley said he had spoken to Djokovic at the Laver Cup in London last month, and that the 35-year-old did not bear a grudge despite his treatment at the start of the year.

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“He said that he would obviously love to come back to Australia but he knows it’s going to be an ultimate decision for the federal government and he accepts that,” Tiley said.

“If you notice, he is playing a lot of tennis at the end of the year in anticipation and hope there is a successful outcome with his application. But that is up to him.”

According to reports, Australian Open officials have employed external immigration experts to facilitate the entry process for foreign players, although that does not mean they can influence any government decision on Djokovic.

Earlier this week, former Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews claimed it would be a “slap in the face” to Australians if Djokovic were cleared to compete next year.

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© Nir Keidar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Djokovic clinches fourth title of 2022 (VIDEO)

Reports elsewhere have claimed that the new government under Prime Minister Anthony Albanese could be more “sympathetic” to Djokovic and his hopes of having his visa ban overturned.

In addition to being deprived of the chance to compete at the Australian Open, Djokovic was also prevented from appearing the US Open in August because of American entry rules on unvaccinated non-citizens.

Djokovic was, however, free to compete at the French Open and Wimbledon – winning the latter tournament to take his tally of Grand Slam titles to 21, just one behind Rafael Nadal on the all-time list.

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Djokovic has frequently stated that he does not regret his vaccine stance and is willing to miss out on the chance of winning more titles, rather than relenting and getting jabbed. 


READ MORE: Australian Open reveals decision on Russian players

https://ift.tt/k0F2uGJ 12, 2022 at 02:12PM
from RT – Daily news

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