By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Thursday, September 22, 2022
Eight months after being deported by the Australian government after a widely publicized battle in court, Novak Djokovic still isn’t sure if he’ll be permitted to play in Melbourne in 2023.
Djokovic, a nine-time champion in Melbourne and a 21-time Grand Slam champion, missed out on a pair of majors in 2022, which is incredible given the high stakes of the Grand Slam race that has been playing out at the Grand Slams over the last few seasons.
“I don’t have any regrets,” Djokovic said on Thursday at Laver Cup. “I do feel sad that I wasn’t able to play, but, you know, that was the decision that I made.
“I knew what the consequences would be, so I accepted them. That’s it.”
Djokovic started 2022 tied with Federer and Nadal on the all-time Grand Slam list and looked like a shoe-in to finish the season on top, given his form in 2021, when he won three major titles and reached the final of a fourth.
But things changed drastically when he was booted out of Melbourne not long after the tournament and the state of Victoria granted him a special exemption to play, despite the fact that he was not vaccinated.
After days in lock down, and more in court, it was deemed that Djokovic’s presence in Australia “may foster anti-vaccination sentiment,” and he was sent packing.
As far as coming to Australia in 2023, there is hope for Djokovic. The nation recently relaxed its Coronavirus restrictions and no longer requires foreign travelers to show proof of vaccination.
On the flip side of that argument is the fact that Djokovic was deported from Australia – that typically comes with a three-year ban on re-entry.
Given the new developments in Australian Covid protocols, Djokovic’s will surely apply for a waiver of his re-entry ban since the reasons for the original visa cancellation are now obsolete.
Today in London, where he is preparing for Laver Cup, Djokovic spoke hopefully about the matter.
“I’m waiting for the news. It’s really not in my hands right now. I’m hoping I can get some positive news soon,” he said.
All signs point to a return to Australia in 2022 for the nine-time champion, but as we learned last season, we shouldn’t count Nole’s chickens before they hatch.