Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Djokovic returns to Australia after exile with no hard feelings

ADELAIDE, Australia ( Associated Press) — Novak Djokovic reiterated that he has no grudges about his visa being revoked and his return to Australia after deportation ahead of the Australian Open in January.

Djokovic was deported from Australia nearly 12 months ago because he had not been vaccinated against COVID-19 at a time when strict quarantine rules were in place and the nation required vaccines for entry.

Those rules have since been rolled back and in November the Australian government lifted Djokovic’s three-year deportation ban and granted him a visa to return to the Australian Open starting January 16.

The Serb returned to Australia on Tuesday ahead of the tournament in Adelaide, where he is scheduled to play next week.

“It’s wonderful to be back in Australia,” he said on Thursday. “This is a country where I have had great success in my career, especially in Melbourne. This is my most successful Grand Slam ever. I hope everything is positive. Obviously (fans reaction (nothing like that) that I can predict).

“I will do everything possible to play good tennis and bring good feelings and good feelings to the public,” he said.

Djokovic said he was still finding it difficult to get over the fact that he had been relegated.

“Obviously what happened 12 months ago was not an easy thing for me, my family, my team, anyone close to me. Obviously leaving the country like this is disappointing.”

“You can’t forget those events. It’s one of those things that I think stays with you for life. It’s something I’ve never experienced before and I hope I never experience it again.” But it is a valuable experience for me and what I have said will stand there, but I have to move on.

Djokovic has won the Australian Open a record nine times, including the last three times he has participated in it. Spain’s Rafael Nadal won the 2022 title in Djokovic’s absence.

Nation World News Desk
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