Novak Djokovic has received some good news as his chances of playing the next two Grand Slam tournaments remain up in the air. While the world No 6 looks set to be banned from the upcoming US Open, he could now be allowed back into Australia for next year’s Aussie Open following the country’s recent decision over a US swimmer.
Djokovic faces the possibility of being out of Grand Slam competition until next year’s French Open in May. With the US Open less than two weeks away, unvaccinated foreign nationals are still banned from entering the country while he also faces the possibility of being stopped from entering Australia after he was deported at the start of 2022.
But there could now be hope for the nine-time champion Down Under after it emerged that unvaccinated US swimmer Michael Andrew will be welcomed into Australia for this week’s Duel in the Pool following a change in travel restrictions. It comes less than seven months after the Serb was deported from Australia over fears his presence could “excite anti-vax sentiment” after arriving in Melbourne without the jab.
Andrew’s fate is good news for the world No 6, who automatically receives a three-year ban from entering the country as a result of his deportation. Australian officials can opt to lift the restriction, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison saying: “[The ban] does go over a three-year period, but there is the opportunity for them to return in the right circumstances and that would be considered at the time,” and the country’s attitude towards the 23-year-old swimmer hints that Djokovic could be welcomed back to the country in five months’ time.
It comes after the 21-time Grand Slam champion admitted he wanted to go back to the Australian Open if he was allowed, despite having his visa cancelled twice and spending time in a government detention hotel at the start of this year. Speaking at a recent event in Bosnia, he said: “I was deported from the country to which I would like to come back.
“I would love to come back to Australia. I love Australia, I had my best Grand Slam results in that country. Hopefully in January I can be there because I want to be there, and I also want to be in New York.”
While it’s good news for Djokovic in regards to Australia, things remain in doubt with the upcoming US Open. The final Major of the year begins in just 13 days and the country is yet to relax their rules to allow unvaccinated foreign nationals through the border.
The Centre of Disease Control and Prevention recently updated guidance on social distancing and quarantining for Americans and revealed that they would be re-evaluating rules surrounding travel “in the coming weeks” – meaning Djokovic could just miss out on gaining entry in time for the US Open.