After the cancellation of his visa by the country’s border officials was overturned, Novak Djokovic will have the chance to capture a record 21st Grand Slam men’s singles title at next week’s Australian Open.
The 34-year-old Serb’s main focus has been overturning that decision and being permitted into the nation to defend his title in Melbourne.
Australia’s immigration minister, Alex Hawke, still has the authority to revoke Djokovic’s visa and deport him, according to a government official, who stated that he is “thoroughly considering the case.”
Whatever occurs, the scenario raises more concerns for Djokovic and other tennis players who are hesitant to be vaccinated in the coming season.
The first-round encounter for Djokovic is set for Monday or Tuesday.
He elected to stay in Australia after his visa was denied in order to pursue his case. He’d have to spend four nights in an immigration detention facility with a bad reputation.
Now he has to make up for several days of no practise and, most likely, little exercise in a facility where the chambers have been referred to as “coffins.”
Djokovic uploaded a photo of himself practising on Rod Laver Arena on Twitter just hours after winning his appeal hearing.
Although Djokovic’s lack of physical preparation will be an issue, he has previously won Grand Slam titles without competing in a warm-up tournament.
However, the conditions are vastly different in this case. People will also wonder how the circumstance has affected him mentally.
The scrutiny and uproar will not go away overnight.
Djokovic is sure to face a barrage of questions about the timing of events, the positive outcome he achieved, and the tennis, despite the fact that it has been relegated to a sideshow for the time being.
Some would have little compassion for Djokovic, claiming that any negative consequences were caused by him: first, by remaining unvaccinated, and second, by opting to fight the matter rather than leave Australia voluntarily.
If Djokovic does take the court, the fans’ reaction at Melbourne Park will be intriguing to hear and observe.
“Each year, I become fonder of you. The relationship is still going strong, “After winning the title last year, he told the Rod Laver Arena fans.
The relationship has deteriorated. It remains to be seen whether it has progressed past the point of reconciliation, as Djokovic, for the second time, finds himself in a situation where he must win over a crowd.
Initially, Australians were furious with Djokovic, and while that rage still exists, some of it has shifted to the Australian government for its handling of the situation.
It should be reminded that in order to attend the matches, tennis fans must have been vaccinated themselves.
Djokovic has always expressed his love for Australia and the self-proclaimed ‘Happy Slam’ that takes place there.
The fact that he has won a record nine Australian Open men’s titles is a big part of it. Last year, he described Melbourne Park, where a sizable Serbian contingent is always present, as “feeling like home.”
Craig Tiley, the chief executive of Tennis Australia, has a good relationship with Djokovic and, speaking before the Serb arrived in Melbourne, dismissed charges that the governing body aided him in obtaining the exemption.
Djokovic has not revealed his itinerary for the next few months, which is unsurprising given the ongoing pandemic.
However, the problem with his immigration into Australia raises concerns about whether he may have trouble accessing other nations.
Some countries have made Covid-19 immunizations essential for foreign visitors, while others have let unvaccinated travellers to enter the country if they show negative tests and spend time in isolation.
Djokovic has taken a few weeks off following the Australian Open in the past before returning in March for the ATP Masters tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami, which are two of the most prominent tour events below the Grand Slams.
According to the US Department of State, non-US citizens must be properly vaccinated before travelling to the US.
Djokovic is the current Wimbledon champion, having won the tournament for the sixth time last year.
With just under six months until the competition, it’s too early to predict what, if any, restrictions players may face in order to compete.
There will be many more developments in the epidemic that will have an impact on travel and key sporting events.
Players must be vaccinated to join the Australian Open unless they apply for an exemption, although it is expected that Wimbledon’s admission criteria would be guided by relevant government recommendations.
Non-vaccinated people can currently enter England, but they must first undergo a 10-day quarantine period. They must also have a negative pre-departure test and two further PCR tests once they arrive, on day two and day eight.
Those that want to shorten their isolation period can still use the test to release scheme.