Novak Djokovic says there have been “some positive signs” regarding his participation in next year’s Australian Open, while he also discussed his “particular” year in a wide-ranging interview.
The nine-time Melbourne champion missed his Australian Open title defense earlier this year after being expelled from the country due to his unvaccinated status.
Djokovic arrived in Down Under with what he believed was a medical exemption to compete, but his visa was revoked before he was reinstated on the back of a court case. However, he was withdrawn for the second time by the then minister of internal affairs for “good reason” for fear that it would fuel anti-vaccination sentiment in the country.
His deportation resulted in an automatic three-year ban from Australia, but negotiations are underway to lift the visa ban.
In an interview with Sportal.blic.rs – translated by Tennis Majors – Djokovic revealed that he hopes to be able to play next year’s opening Grand Slam, but admits that the final decision remains in his hands.
“When it comes to Australia, there are some positive signs, but unofficially,” he said. “We are communicating through my lawyers in Australia. In fact, they are communicating with the authorities responsible for my case.
“I hope to have an answer in the next few weeks – whatever the answer, but obviously I hope for a positive one – so that I have enough time to prepare for the start of the season, if that start is going it will happen in Australia.”
He added: “I really want to go there, I finished what happened this year and I just want to play tennis, that’s what I do best.
“Australia has always been where I played my best tennis, the results speak for themselves, so I’m always very motivated to go there. This time even more, then. I hope for a positive response “.
Djokovic was also unable to compete in the ATP Cup and many other events held in Australia, while his decision not to get vaccinated also meant he missed the US Open and the North American hard court swing.
“For the choices I made, I knew there would be some consequences like not going to America, that’s all,” he said. For Australia it was a different case, I had the exception, but in the end it didn’t work out.
“We know what happened, we don’t go back. This time I’m waiting for permission again. It is good that they have now opened borders for unvaccinated foreigners traveling to Australia. I have that ban, I hope it is lifted. Like I said, it’s not in my hands, I hope the people in the Australian government give a positive answer, that’s all. “
Djokovic’s decision not to get vaccinated against Covid-19 and his subsequent expulsion from Australia have been a major topic of discussion in the sports world this year.
Some of his colleagues came to his defense, others sat on the fence while some insisted that he shouldn’t have been given special treatment.
“It’s been a very interesting year, very particular,” said the 21-time Grand Slam winner. “I always strive to draw positive things from whatever experience is, which is part of my character and my approach to life.
“I know that everything that has happened in Australia and after – the way people have treated me, which hasn’t been pleasant and is something I’ve never experienced before in my life – has helped me learn some valuable lessons.
“Lessons about myself, about life and about how I should move forward in this world, especially in the tennis ecosystem.”
He added: “A lot of masks have fallen off, so to speak – during this process, it has been interesting for me to observe how some people have behaved towards me this year. I keep moving forward, motivated and inspired.
“I love this sport, I love to give my best in every practice because every day is different and there is always a kind of excitement, a kind of unknown, it is a challenge”.
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Novak Djokovic’s article hoping the Australian Open ‘will respond in the coming weeks’ as he also lifts the lid on ‘falling masks’ first appeared on Tennis365.com.