With the Australian Open 2023 set to begin on January 16, minds have been casting back to Novak Djokovic’s deportation from the country before last year’s edition of the tournament.
The Serbian, who has so far declined a Covid-19 vaccine, was placed in an immigration facility before seeing his visa cancelled after it was ruled he broke Australia’s border rules at the time.
And so with the tennis tour once again pitching up in Melbourne, will Djokovic be in the draw for the first round on Monday?
Here is everything you need to know.
Is Novak Djokovic taking part in the Australian Open?
Much to the delight of his army of fans, Djokovic will indeed be playing in the Australian Open.
This is despite the fact that the 35 year-old was barred from Australia for three years until 2025 as part of the visa cancellation.
The decision was reversed by the Australian government in November, after the country scrapped the rule that requested foreign travellers to disclose their vaccination status.
Djokovic missed the US Open last year due to his stance over vaccination, and is also set to miss the prestigious tournaments of Indian Wells and the Miami Open in 2023
What has Novak Djokovic said about playing in the Australian Open?
Speaking about his deportation upon his return to the country, Djokovic said: ‘It’s one of those things that sticks with you, stays with you for the rest of your life.
‘As I said, something that I’ve never experienced before and hopefully never again. But it is a valuable life experience for me and something that will stay there, but I have to move on.
‘Coming back to Australia speaks to how I feel about this country, how I feel about playing here.’
The Serb added: ‘From the people in the hotel to the airport to people at the tournament and at the club, everyone has been really pleasant, really, really nice to me so all good for now.
‘I always felt great in Australia, always played my best tennis, received a lot of support, so hopefully I can have another great summer.’
Tennis Australia chief Craig Tiley has vowed to remove fans from venues if they target Djokovic with abuse during the tournament.
How many times has Novak Djokovic won the Australian Open?
Djokovic is the most successful male player in the history of the Australian Open, with nine titles to his name.
He is unbeaten in Melbourne since 2018, having won the tournament in 2019, 2020 and 2021.
Djokovic has won 21 Grand Slam titles in his career – one ahead of Roger Federer, and one behind Rafael Nadal.
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