Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic on Monday returned to Serbia after being deported from Australia.
Djokovic, the top men’s tennis player, on Jan. 4 was given a medical exemption from being vaccinated for the coronavirus by Australian authorities to travel to the country to defend his Australian Open title and chase a record 21st Grand Slam win.
However, he was detained by immigration authorities when he arrived in Melbourne on Jan. 6.
Djokovic filed an appeal against the move and a court ordered his release on Jan. 10, but the Serbian athlete was detained again on Saturday after Australia’s Immigration Minister Alex Hawke used discretionary powers to cancel his visa.
Later, he was banned from entering Australia for three years after his visa cancellation was upheld by three Federal Court judges on Sunday.
However, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Monday that Djokovic could be allowed to enter the country sooner under appropriate conditions.
While the ban is for three years, there is the possibility of him returning in the right circumstances, which would be examined at the time, the prime minister told Australian radio station Channel Nine.
Australia mandates all players be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus to compete in the year’s first major tennis tournament.
Djokovic has won the Australian Open in 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2019, 2020, and 2021.
The 2022 Australian Open, the year’s first Grand Slam, will be held in Melbourne between Jan. 17-30.
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