Australia Open organisers hint at Novak Djokovic return in 2023
Novak Djokovic might take encouragement from the latest sentiments from Australian Open organisers.
Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley has suggested that he expects Djokovic to be allowed to enter the country and take part in the first Grand Slam of 2023.
The conditions of Djokovic’s deportation from Australia earlier this year imposed a three-year ban on future attempts to enter the country but a change in national government in Australia and proclamations that the COVID-19 pandemic is over mean that that ban could be retracted.
Djokovic’s entry into Australia isn’t in Tiley’s hands but his confidence suggests that he is privy to positive news for the tournament’s record nine-time champion.
“We are on track to have all the top players back,” Tiley said on Wednesday during a Melbourne Victory luncheon.
“We are at a different point in time now than we were nine months ago and I think it’s a very different environment with people travelling freely around the world and we hope to have all the best players here in January.”
Djokovic has not waivered from his position and has only entered tournaments with assurances that he would be allowed to enter the home country.
He naturally wants to play in the Australian Open in his quest to make the most of his prime.
“I was deported from the country to which I would like to come back,” Djokovic said in July.
“I would love to come back to Australia. I love Australia, I had my best Grand Slam results in that country.
“Hopefully in January I can be there because I want to be there, and I also want to be in New York. I want to be in America, I want to be everywhere I can possibly play.
“I am a professional tennis player, I don’t go into politics or anything else because that doesn’t interest me.
“I have my stance and I am a proponent for freedom to choose what is best for you. I respect everything and everybody, and at least I expect people to respect my decision.
“If I have permission, I’ll be there. If I don’t, I won’t be there – it’s not the end of the world.
“I still feel young in my own skin, I feel I have many more years to come so there will be a lot of opportunities.”
Djokovic returned to the ATP Tour with a championship win in Tel Aviv last week and is out to keep his roll going in Nur-Sultan.
He faces Cristian Garin in Wednesday’s first round of the ATP 500 Astana Open.
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