Australian media reported that the government decided to grant an unvaccinated Serb a visa, revoking a three-year ban after he was expelled from the country.
- France Press agency Turin, Italy
- Last updated: November 17, 2022, at 16:10 IST
Novak Djokovic confirmed on Wednesday that he had been granted a visa to travel to Melbourne to play the 2023 Australian Open after missing this year’s tournament when he was deported due to his vaccine status.
“I was very happy to receive the news yesterday. It was a relief,” said the Serb after his victory over Andrey Rublev in the ATP Finals in Turin.
“Obviously it has been a relief to know what I and the people closest to me have been through in my life this year in what happened in Australia and obviously post-Australia. I certainly couldn’t have received better news, during this tournament as well.”
And Australian media reported, on Tuesday, that the government had decided to grant the unvaccinated Serb a visa, and canceled a three-year ban after he was expelled from the country.
This year’s tournament was overshadowed by nine-time Australian Open champion Djokovic on a plane on the eve of the competition after a high-profile legal battle over his visa status.
The Australian Open was my most successful major tournament. said Djokovic. “I made some of the best memories there.”
Djokovic was speaking after securing a place in the final four of the season’s finals with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Rublev, his second consecutive win in as many matches.
He said the news from Australia was a big boost.
“Did it affect my game today? I’d like to believe that.” he said.
“Knowing that I have the clarity now, what I’m doing in the off-season, the start of the season in Australia, of course relieved some of the pressure.”
– ‘I want to win’ –
He broke Rublev’s resistance in just a few games after taking the only break point any of the players had in the first set at 4-4.
Djokovic executed the set and then took advantage of Rublev’s frustration to break back early in the second set as he took a 3-0 lead and cruised to victory.
“One of the best matches I’ve played this year, especially in the second set. Just a really flawless set.”
After beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in his first Red Group match on Monday, the Serb is guaranteed a place in the last four regardless of his result on Friday against Daniil Medvedev.
“I’m really happy to get to the semi-finals,” he said. “At the same time, I want to win that game, win every game I play here.”
Djokovic is ranked eighth in the world in part because he missed tournaments, including the Australian Open and the US Open, due to his vaccination condition.
“The upside of not playing that many tournaments is that you will be fresher than if you play a lot more,” he said. “I had more time to train and practice.”
“Sometimes I wish, in the men’s professional tennis season, we had more time to get those training blocks a little longer, so you can really work on your game and your body.”
“I’m also in the position I think right now in my career where I can choose which leagues I play and where I want to peak, at what time of the season.”
“Obviously I missed a lot of the big tournaments,” he said. “But I can say that I’ve learned a lot this year about myself, about the world I live in, and about some of the people who acted a certain way with me in this whole process.
Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Daniil Medvedev 6-3 6-7 (11/13) 7-6 (7/1) in the late game to eliminate the Russian.
The Greek who was champion in 2019 will now play for a place in the semi-finals on Friday against Andrei Rublev.
Medvedev served for the match at 5-4 in the third set but squandered his chance and then wilted 7-1 in the eventual equaliser.
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