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Djokovic plans to return to Australian Open in 2023, organizer says

Novak Djokovic intends to play the 2023 Australian Open, tournament organizer Craig Tiley said on Sunday, attributing the tennis player’s deportation ahead of this year’s tournament to a “miscommunication.”

Tiley has kept a low profile since Djokovic’s deportation, but when asked if the Serb would return to Melbourne for the 2023 tournament, he replied “yes”.

Obviously he has to let this year go by, but that is his intention”, he declared to the ABC public television.

At the end of the day, he is the number one tennis player in the world and he really loves the Australian Open.”, he assured.

The world tennis number one had his visa to Australia canceled before the first Grand Slam of the season because he is not vaccinated against COVID.

He left Melbourne a week ago after failing to stay on for his 21st Grand Slam title following a legal battle with Australian authorities.

Djokovic’s coach, Marian Vajda, stated last week that “the situation hit him mentally.”

It will hurt for a long time and it will be difficult to get it out of your head”, he commented to the site, after criticizing the “unfair political process” which led to Djokovic’s exit.

Tiley blamed the deportation on “changing conditions” and “lack of communication” with the federal government, after Djokovic initially received a waiver from Tennis Australia’s chief medical officer.

Tiley said that Tennis Australia sought several times to clarify the issue with national authorities but the changing nature of the omicron variant meant that “there were a lot of inconsistencies and complexities with the information”.

Even just in the last week since (the decision), things have changed in relation to the response to the pandemic”, according to Tiley.

Meanwhile, Djokovic is back in Serbia with his image damaged and his future uncertain.

Some media outlets have said he could sue Tennis Australia to recover his legal and travel costs, but Tiley said he doesn’t expect any legal action.


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