Novak Djokovic's visa debacle twist sparks divided reaction: 'Embarrassing'

Novak Djokovic (pictured left) with the Australian Open trophy and (pictured right) Djokovic at the airport.
Novak Djokovic (pictured left) is set to have his visa ban overturned and will be free to play in the Australian Open in 2023. (Getty Images)

Novak Djokovic is all set to have his three-year visa ban in Australia overturned and the sporting world has reacted to the huge news that dominated headlines in 2022.

The Serbian former world No.1 was given a three year ban from the country in January 2022 after attempting to enter under what was later determined to be an invalid exemption from being vaccinated against COVID-19.

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The three year ban was issued by former Immigration Minister Alex Hawke during the previous government, with Djokovic's visa status presenting a quandary for the Anthony Albanese government.

Following the worldwide drama, the 21-time grand slam champion admitted he wouldn't receive the vaccination in order to play tennis.

This saw him also miss the US Open and a number of tournaments in which countries held strict entry policies.

However, in huge news, it has been widely reported current immigration minister Andrew Giles will overturn Djokovic's ban following the dropping of requirements of visitors entering Australia needed to be vaccinated.

While the news is yet to be confirmed, Djokovic -currently playing at the ATP Finals in Turin - would have met the development with a smile having announced last week that he was hoping for an answer in the coming days.

And the tennis world erupted at the news.

Many claimed the development immediately catapults Djokovic back into favourite considering he has won the Australian Open nine times. This begs the question on how the Melbourne audience will receive Djokovic when he returns to court.

While many were happy the nine-time champ was returning to Melbourne, others didn't share the same sentiment and were also frustrated at how the government handled the situation.

Others were annoyed that Djokovic was able to have his ban overturned, while others may not have been afforded the same privilege if their visa was banned for three years.

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While the news is set to be fully confirmed, Djokovic had mentioned recently that the signs that he could return had improved.

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."

And it comes as Australian Open boss Craig Tiley is increasingly bullish about Djokovic's chances of competing at next year's Open.

Novak Djokovic (pictured) trains at Melbourne Park.
Novak Djokovic (pictured) is set for a return to Melbourne Park next year. (Photo by MARTIN KEEP/AFP via Getty Images)

With Wednesday marking two months before the 2023 Open gets underway in Melbourne, the stalemate is hardly ideal but Tiley is hopeful tennis fans - and Djokovic - will not have to endure a re-run of this year's soap opera.

“We are waiting. They are communicating with the government of Australia. That’s all I can tell you for now," he told reporters.

However, Tiley said that he would be leaving the process up to the Australian authorities.

Djokovic is currently competing at the ATP Finals in Turin, which will mark his final tournament of the year.

The expected overturn of his ban could also see Serbia enter the inaugural Nations Cup. Both Nick Kyrgios and Rafa Nadal have announced their participation next year in Australia.

with AAP

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