Novak Djokovic confirmed his participation in the Australian Open next year, saying he was “very happy” his visa ban had been lifted.
The nine-time champion Serb was deported before this year’s event after his visa was revoked due to a dispute over his Covid vaccine status.
He was automatically barred from entering Australia for three years, but on Tuesday he learned that a visa would be granted.
“I couldn’t have gotten better news,” the 21-time Grand Slam winner said.
“It was a relief obviously knowing what I and people closest to me in my life have been through this year with what happened in Australia and post Australia,” the former world number one told reporters at the ATP Finals in Turin after reaching the semi-finals.
When Djokovic arrived in Australia in January, Covid cases were on the rise, and government regulations mandated that anyone entering the country be vaccinated unless they had a valid medication exemption.
According to the government, he did not meet the entry requirements, so his visa was revoked and he was automatically barred from returning to Australia until 2025.
However, Immigration Minister Andrew Giles, whose government took office in May, has overturned the ban.
The news of Djokovic’s detention and deportation dominated the lead-up to this year’s Australian Open.
Many Australians applauded the decision, but it also sparked outrage among supporters gathered outside his hotel, as well as in Serbia.