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Australian Open: Djokovic, visa granted, will be able to participate in the 2023 edition

The Australian government has decided to grant a visa to the Serb, a record nine-time Australian Open winner, ABC television and other media reported, without further details.

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Australian Open: Djokovic, visa granted, will be able to participate in the 2023 edition

The Australian government has decided to grant a visa to the Serb, a record nine-time Australian Open winner, ABC television and other media reported, without further details.

Requested by AFP on Tuesday, the Australian Department of Immigration and the Australian Tennis Federation have not yet commented on this announcement.

But the case did seem to be on the right track in recent weeks, thanks to the change of government in Australia - the conservative coalition in power at the time of the expulsion of the Serb having since been replaced by a centre-left cabinet. led by Labor Anthony Albanese.

While he is currently playing the ATP Masters in Turin (Italy), the former world No.1 still wanted to be cautious on Monday.

"There is nothing official yet. We are waiting. They (his lawyers) are discussing with the Australian government, that's all I can say for the moment," said the Serb.

Last month, Australian Open director Craig Tiley told him that he had spent time with Djokovic and assured that the player wanted to play the first Grand Slam of 2023.

"He said he obviously would like to come back to Australia, but he knows the final decision will be up to the federal government," the official told Australian newspaper The Age. "He accepted this position. It's a private matter between them."

Mr. Tiley also took the opportunity to urge the two parties to find a solution.

"What we're saying at this point is that Novak and the feds need to fix the situation. We'll follow any instructions after that," he said.

- Three-year ban -

It was no longer the status of unvaccinated which prevented the star's presence in Melbourne at the 21 Grand Slams - Australia having lifted the obligation for visitors to present proof of vaccination - but the ban on territory to which it is subject in this country.

Last January, after being detained on his arrival in Melbourne, Djokovic had indeed been expelled and sentenced to a three-year ban on entering the territory, after an intense legal battle.

The lifting of this ban is at the discretion of the government of Anthony Albanese.

The refusal to vaccinate against Covid-19 largely upset the 2022 season of the 35-year-old Serbian champion: in addition to the Australian Open in January, he had to give up the US Open this summer, the entry to the States States remaining subject to the vaccination obligation.

Beaten in the quarter-finals at Roland Garros by Rafael Nadal, Djokovic had previously resumed his march forward at Wimbledon, at the start of the summer, where he won his 21st Grand Slam title.

However, this victory did not bring him the slightest point in the world rankings since the Major on grass had been sanctioned by the ATP and the WTA (which respectively manage the male and female professional circuits) for having refused the participation of Russian and Belarusian players. in retaliation for the war in Ukraine.

Despite these pitfalls, the Serb managed to qualify for the Turin Masters, which brings together the eight best players of the season.

On Monday, he won his first meeting against the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas (N.3) 6-4, 7-6 (7/4).

Djokovic is due to play his next game on Wednesday against Russian Andrey Rublev.

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