Novak Djokovic's staggering reveal amid Australian Open visa drama

Pictured right, Novak Djokovic addresses media during a tennis press conference.
Novak Djokovic says he is over the infamous visa controversy in Australia and is hopeful of having his ban on entering the country lifted. Pic: Getty

Novak Djokovic insists he is "over" the visa controversy that saw him sensationally booted out of the Australian Open and the country earlier this year and revealed there are 'positive signs' that he will be allowed back in next year.

Djokovic was infamously deported from Australia in the culmination of an extraordinary visa dispute that saw him detained upon arrival, at Melbourne airport in January.

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The unvaccinated Serb was held by Border Force officials and later had his visa cancelled by then-Immigration Minister Alex Hawke, who argued the World No.7's presence could "excite anti-vax sentiment" in Australia.

The cancellation of Djokovic's visa comes with an automatic three-year ban from entering the country, which the nine-time champion hopes to have overturned.

Djokovic subsequently missed the US Open as the United States would not allowed unvaccinated visitors into the country, but the 35-year-old did win Wimbledon for his 21st grand slam title.

Speaking about his potential return Down Under for next year's Australian Open, the Serb said he was quietly confident Aussie officials would give him the green light.

He told Serbian website Sportal: "When it comes to Australia, there are some positive signs, but unofficially. We are communicating through my lawyers in Australia. In fact, they are communicating with the authorities in charge of my case.

"I hope to have an answer in the next few weeks - whatever that answer might be, but of course I am hoping for a positive one - so that I have enough time to prepare for the start of the season, if that start is going to happen in Australia.

Djokovic could easily harbour resentment towards Australia after the way he was treated, with many supporters slamming the Federal government's decision to deport the tennis star.

However, the 35-year-old has made no secret about his love of a country where he holds a record nine Australian Open singles titles.

"I really want to go there, I am over what happened this year and I just want to play tennis, it is what I do best. Australia has always been the place where I have played my best tennis, the results speak for themselves, so I am always extra motivated to go there. This time even more so.

"I am hoping for a positive answer."

Djokovic remains unvaccinated and has repeatedly said he has no intention of changing that stance - regardless of the consequences.

The 35-year-old maintains that he traveled to Australia in January under what he understood to be a legitimate vaccination exemption from Tennis Australia.

Pictured here is Novak Djokovic during and after his ill-fated trip to Australia in 2022.
Novak Djokovic has opened up about the treatment he received after being heavily criticised for his vaccination stance during and after the Australian Open saga. (Getty Images)

Novak Djokovic stands by his decisions

"For the choices I made, I knew there would be certain consequences like not going to America. For Australia it was a different case, I had the exception, but in the end it did not work out. We know what happened, let's not go back," he added.

"This time I am waiting for the permission again. It is a good thing that they have now opened the borders for the unvaccinated foreigners travelling to Australia.

"I have that (automatic three-year) ban, I hope it will be lifted. As I said, it is not in my hands, I hope the people in the Australian Government will give a positive answer, that is all."

Since Djokovic's ban was imposed the Australian government has changed and Andrew Giles replaced Hawke as Immigration Minister.

He can grant Djokovic, now ranked World No.7, an exemption, but earlier this month former home affairs boss Karen Andrews argued it would be a "slap in the face" for Australians who abided by strict COVID-19 protocols for two years.

"It was a very interesting year, peculiar," Djokovic, 35, added.

"I always strive to draw positive things from whatever the experience is, that is part of my character and my approach to life. I know that everything that happened in Australia and afterwards - the way people have treated me, which did not feel nice and it is something I have never experienced before in my life - has helped me to learn some valuable lessons.

"Lessons about myself, about life and about the way I should move on in this world, especially in the tennis ecosystem."

Djokovic confirmed on Monday that he would be taking part in the Paris Masters, starting on October 31.

He will then join Rafa Nadal in Turin for the ATP Finals to finish of the 2022 season.

with AAP

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