NOVAK DJOKOVIC will be allowed to play in next year’s Australian Open, against the wishes of Liberal MP Karen Andrews.
Djokovic was automatically banned from entering Australia for three years after the Morrison Government’s immigration minister Alex Hawke decided the tennis champion’s vaccination status risked influencing Australians to ignore government health advice.
The fact that politicians from the defeated Scott Morrison government are being wheeled out to call for Novak Djokovic to be banned from next year's Australian Open suggests Australia's new government is more than likely to let him play.— Sam Street (@samstreetwrites) October 11, 2022
Hawke ordered Djokovic be deported the day before this year’s Australian Open tournament, despite the healthy athlete having been allowed to travel here with a medical exemption. The exemption was validly granted by the same standards everyone else could apply for one, and was held up by a Federal Court judge.
The CEO of Tennis Australia and boss of the tournament says he neither has nor will ask the federal government to overturn the ban, a decision which is within the new immigration minister’s power.
At today’s launch of next year’s tournament Tiley remarked:
“At this point, Novak and the federal government need to work out the situation and then we’ll follow any instruction after that. It’s not a matter we can lobby on. It’s a matter that definitely stays between the two of them and then depending on the outcome of that, we would welcome him to the Australian Open.”
Tiley revealed Djokovic had told him he was keen to compete next year, and that the federal government had not communicated anything to him about the former world number one’s visa status.
Victorian Sport Minister Steve Dimopoulos has also indicated the state government had no intentions of advocating for the former nine-time champion to have his three year ban overturned.
Shadow Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews has gone several steps further though, and emotively campaigned on ABC Radio Melbourne to keep the athlete out.
Mrs Andrews opined:
“It would be a slap in the face for those people in Australia who did the right thing, got vaccinated, did everything they needed to do if all of a sudden, Novak Djokovic is allowed back into the country, simply because he is a high-ranking tennis player with many millions of dollars.”
There is no evidence the Albanese government Immigration Minister Andrew Giles considers Djokovic’s personal wealth the best reason to overturn his automatic ban.
The Australian Home Affairs website advises people entering Australia do not need to provide evidence of vaccination status, nor complete a Passenger Declaration, nor travel exemptions if unvaccinated. There is also no suggestion that Novak Djokovic has infected anyone in the other tournaments he has competed in globally since being sensationally ejected from Australia.
The possibility of Djokovic not being allowed into Australia has not dampened enthusiasm for ticket sales, with pre-sales already breaking records.
If he is allowed to play in Melbourne in January, the Serbian national is a firm favourite to win. He remains ranked at world number seven, despite having won his 21st grand slam title in July at Wimbledon. The competition was stripped of its points to offer players because it excluded players from countries involved in the Ukraine conflict.
Mr Tiley explained that players from Russia and Belarus would not be excluded from the Australian Open, but could not officially represent Russia, its flag or anthem, and instead would compete as independent players.
According to James Campbell at The Sunday Telegraph, senior government “sources” have said, “an in-principle decision has been taken to allow the Serbian superstar back into Australia if he applies for a visa.”
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