News that tennis ace Novak Djokovic will be allowed to contest next year’s Australian Open, has garnered a mixed reaction from the public
after he was controversially booted from the country last year.
News.com.au reported it believed the three-year-ban imposed on Djokovic earlier this year because of his opposition to the Covid-19 vaccine would be overturned sending social media into a spin on Tuesday night.
The nine-time Australian Open winner was sensationally denied a visa after arriving to compete at the Melbourne tournament in January.
Former Immigration Minister Alex Hawke cancelled his visa “on health and good order grounds”, claiming that Djokovic was a risk because he might influence people’s views negatively about the vaccine.
The tournament went ahead without the reigning champion and was won by his archrival Rafael Nadal.
Some called for a "hero's welcome" for Djokovic after the way he was treated by Australian authorities due to his vaccination status, especially in light of new findings about the effectiveness of the Covid-19 vaccination and new reports of side-effects and warnings related to vaccination.
Others took aim at the mainstream media for its biased coverage of the fiasco which dented Australia's reputation on the national stage.
New Immigration Minister Andrew Giles was expected to grant Djokovic a visa, allowing him the opportunity to win a record tenth championship at Melbourne Park.
“There’s a normal visa application process that everyone is going through right now, and everyone will go through the right timing,” Australian Open director Craig Tiley said this week.
“I don’t think there should be any preferential treatment for anyone. But I fully expect to have an answer for everyone by the time that they need to book their flights and come in, including Novak.”
“I’m confident they’ll reach some arrangement and hopefully it’s positive.”
Djokovic told Serbian website Sportal that he was desperate to return to Australia.
“I really want to go there,” he said.
“I am over what happened this year and I just want to play tennis. 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.”