Tennis star Novak Djokovic is expected to compete in the 2023 Australian Open after having his ban overturned.
Djokovic hit the headlines during the pandemic for his refusal to take the Covid-19 vaccination. As a result, the Serbian was handed a three-year-ban from entering Australia in the build up to the 2022 Australian Open.
The 35-year old has since spoken of hopes for a reprieve from the Australian government and it is understood that he will get his visa back in time for next year’s tournament.
Djokovic is viewed as one of the most talented tennis players of his generation and will be chasing a 22nd grand slam in the 2023 Australian Open. But why has Djokovic had his ban overturned and what has been said ahead of the tournament?
Why was Djokovic banned from entering the 2022 Australian Open?
Novak Djokovic was handed a three-year-ban from the Australian Open for his stance on the Covid-19 vaccination.
The Serbian had his Visa cancelled by the Australian Government in the build up to the tournament in January 2022 and then lost his court appeal in Melbourne later that month.
The Immigration Minister at the time Alex Hawke claimed Djokovic’s presence in the tournament could be a “threat to public order” and also claimed allowing him to play would “encourage anti-vaccination sentiment.”
Djokovic said at the time: “I’m extremely disappointed with the court ruling to dismiss my application for judicial review of the minister’s decision to cancel my visa.
“I respect the court’s ruling and I will cooperate with the relevant authorities in relation to my departure from the country. I’m uncomfortable that the focus of the past weeks has been on me. I hope that we can all now focus on the game and tournament I love.”
Why has Djokovic had his ban overturned?
Novak Djokovic is expected to return to the Australian Open next year as the government has loosened its visa restrictions in relation to Covid-19.
The Serbian is expected to be given the right of entry by immigration minister Andrew Giles, who will overturn the ban imposed by the country’s former government.
To overturn the ban the immigration minister must be satisfied that there are “compelling circumstances” for the person in question to return.
When is the 2023 Australian Open?
The 2023 Australian Open will begin on Monday 16 January and will run until Sunday 29 January. The men’s single title in 2022 was won by Spaniard Rafael Nadal.
Who are the favourites to win the 2023 Australian Open?
Novak Djokovic is currently the hot favourite with the bookmakers ahead of his return to the Australian Open. The Serbian is closely followed by Carlos Alcaraz who is the second favourite.
Reigning champion Rafael Nadal is ranked as the fourth favourite for the tournament.
Here are the top 10 contenders for the 2023 Australian Open according to Sky Bet. (Odds correct as of Tuesday 15 November 2022)
- Novak Djokovic - 6/4
- Carlos Alcaraz - 7/2
- Daniil Medvedev - 4/1
- Rafael Nadal - 10/1
- Nick Kyrgios - 12/1
- Jannik Sinner - 14/1
- Stefanos Tsitsipas - 18/1
- Felix Auger-Alissime - 20/1
- Alexander Zverev - 22/1
- Casper Rudd - 25/1