The Australian government confirmed on Wednesday that Novak Djokovic has been granted a travel visa, making him eligible to participate in the Australian Open in January.
“I was very happy to receive the news yesterday. It was a relief, obviously, knowing what I and the people closest to me in my life have been through this year with what happened in Australia and post-Australia,” Djokovic said, via Tennis.com. “Australian Open has been my most successful Grand Slam. I made some of the best memories there. Of course, I want to go back there, I want to play tennis, do what I do best, hopefully have a great Australian summer.”
Djokovic did not play in the tournament last year due to his vaccination status against COVID-19. He did receive a visa to travel to Australia on Nov. 18 of last year, but was detained by the Australian Border Force after they determined he did not meet requirements to enter the country, despite originally receiving a medical exemption. His visa was canceled, he was held in an immigration detention hotel, and he was eventually deported.
He was unable to play in the U.S. Open this past summer, as well, as he was unable to travel into the country based on his vaccination status. Australia has since lifted some of its restrictions.
“I was never against vaccination but I’ve always supported the freedom to choose what you put in your body,” Djokovic told BBC in an interview earlier this year.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC TO RETURN TO AUSTRALIA AFTER THREE-BAN OVERTURNED: REPORTS
“I don’t have any regrets. I mean, I do feel sad that I wasn’t able to play, but that was a decision that I made, and I knew what the consequences would be,” he said at the Laver Cup in September. “So I accepted them, and that’s it.”
Nine of Djokovic’s 21 grand slams have come in the Australian Open — he had won the previous three before this past year’s.
Multiple reports on Tuesday indicated that Immigration Minister Andrew Giles had overturned a potential three-year ban for Djokovic, which followed a 10-day legal battle earlier this year when Djokovic’s visa was revoked after previously being granted a medical exemption to enter the country.
Djokovic won the Wimbledon last year and advanced to the quarterfinals of the French Open.
He is currently in the ATP Finals in Italy. The Australian Open begins Jan. 16.
Fox News’ Paulina Dedaj contributed to this report.
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