Australia to lift entry ban for Djokovic over vaccination
The Australian authorities seem to have gone back on their decision to ban Serbian tennis superstar Novak Djokovic from entering the country over vaccination issues.
The Australian authorities have decided to go back on their decision to ban Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic from entering the country in light of the Australian Open tournament looming closer, the Australian Herald Sun newspaper reported on Sunday.
The tennis star has been barred from entering the country over a COVID-19 controversy in early January that saw him losing his visa by then-Immigration Minister Alex Hawke and leaving the country due to his lack of vaccination.
Hawke lost his post following a cabinet reshuffle in May 2022, and Andrew Giles took over his post. Senior government sources told the newspaper that although the new minister did not sign any documents lifting Djokovic's entry ban, the decision was taken "in principle".
Under Australia's new laws, visitors traveling to the country are no longer required to show a negative COVID-19 test result or proof of vaccination.
Djokovic, unvaccinated, arrived in Australia on January 5 to participate in the Australia Open Tennis tournament, and he was detained a day later and put in an isolation ward after his visa was canceled.
He was accused of breaking COVID-19 laws due to his vaccination exemption being invalid at the time, which was met by an appeal by his legal team.
Four days after he was held in the migration isolation ward, Djokovic was released by court order and had his visa reinstated by the federal district court in Melbourne. A few days later, Hawke revoked the tennis player's visa, forcing him to stay out of the tournament and leave the country.
Djokovic's vaccination status also prevented him from taking part in the 2022 US Open tennis championships.
he withdrew from the US Open in late August as his refusal to get vaccinated meant he could not travel to the United States in a widely anticipated move.
Stacey Allaster, US Open Tournament Director, regretted the absence of a player who has won 21 Grand Slams, just one behind the men's record held by Rafael Nadal.
Djokovic has not competed since securing a seventh Wimbledon title in July.
However, he is due to return to the tour at the Laver Cup in London from September 23-25 where he will play alongside Nadal, Roger Federer, and Andy Murray.