‘It was a relief’: Novak Djokovic confirms visa to play in Australian Open | Novak Djokovic

The nine-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic will be able to play in next year’s tournament after he confirmed on Wednesday that he had been granted a visa to travel.

The 35-year-old Serbian, the most successful male player in the tournament’s history, missed the 2022 tournament after he was deported over his failure to have a Covid-19 vaccine.

Djokovic, the former world No 1, was originally barred from the country until 2025 but that decision – as exclusively revealed by the Guardian – has been reversed.

“I was very happy to receive the news yesterday,” Djokovic, whose deportation dominated the buildup to this year’s Australian Open, said after defeating Andrey Rublev 6-4, 6-1 to secure his semi-final place at the ATP Finals in Turin on Wednesday.

“It was a relief obviously knowing what I and people closest to me in my life have been through this year with what happened in Australia and post Australia obviously. I could not receive better news for sure – during this tournament as well. 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.”

The tournament director, Craig Tiley, said this month that Djokovic would be welcome in January if he could get a visa, but that Tennis Australia was unable to lobby on his behalf. Australia in July scrapped a rule that required international travellers to declare their Covid vaccination status, and Djokovic said in October he had received “positive signs” about the status of efforts to overturn his ban.

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