Novak Djokovic will be allowed to enter Australia for the 2023 Australian Open, after missing the last edition due to his non-vaccinated status.
The 21-time Grand Slam singles champion had his visa cancelled on public interest grounds on Jan. 14 and lost an appeal against deportation in the Full Federal Court.
At times dubbed “Fortress Australia”, the country had some of the strictest pandemic restrictions in the world.
Immigration Minister Andrew Giles said he had approved Djokovic’s application to revoke the cancellation decision because the ground for canceling the visa no longer existed. The visa ban could have lasted for three years.
“Mr. Djokovic has subsequently been granted a temporary visa to enter Australia,” Giles said in a statement.
When Djokovic arrived in Australia in January, Covid cases were skyrocketing and government rules required anyone entering the country be vaccinated, unless they had a valid medication exemption.
He did not meet the requirements for entry, the government said, so his visa was cancelled and he was automatically banned from entering the country for three years.
The 35-year-old from Serbia is clear to compete at the Australian Open, which runs from Jan. 16-29 in Melbourne.
Speaking earlier on Tuesday, Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley said he was confident that Djokovic would play in next year’s Open.
“I know Novak wants to come and play and to get back to competing,” he told the Australian Associated Press.
“He loves Australia and it’s where he’s had the best success.”
Alex Hawke, Australia’s immigration minister at the time, used discretionary powers to cancel Djokovic’s visa on character grounds, stating he was a “talisman of a community of anti-vaccine sentiment.”