Djokovic Drama: World No. 1 Willing to ‘Come Back to Australia’, Admits ‘Selfish’ Behavior
© AFP 2023 / MARTIN KEEP(FILES) In this file photo taken on January 14, 2022, Novak Djokovic of Serbia attends a practice session ahead of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne. - Novak Djokovic lost his bid to avoid deportation from Australia on January 16, 2022
© AFP 2023 / MARTIN KEEP
In January, the Australian authorities annulled the visa of 20-time Grand Slam winner Novak Djokovic after they rejected his medical exemption for vaccination. The athlete was deported from the country after a long legal battle with the Australian authorities and missed the Australian Open.
The tennis player Novak Djokovic revealed on Thursday that he wants to return to Australia and admitted it was ‘selfish’ to participate in a photo shoot after being positively tested with COVID-19.
“I want to come back to Australia in the future and to play on Rod Laver Arena again,” Djokovic said in an interview with Serbian national TV (RTS). “A lot of professional and personal beautiful things happened to me there. Despite all this, I have a great connection with Australia.”
In December, Djokovic received a positive COVID-19 test and instead of self-isolation, he took part in a photo shoot and gave an interview to L'Equipe in Paris.
“I admit that it was selfish what I’ve done by attending the interview with L’Equipe. My mistake which I own,” he said. “I understand that not all people will forgive me and I understand the critics.”
The athlete, meanwhile, has a three-year ban from receiving an Australian visa, but it could be reviewed in the right circumstances, according to the country’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Djokovic also said he doesn’t regret anything about his much-debated attempt to participate in the Australia Open.
“I don’t regret it. I don’t know if things would have been different if I hadn’t posted that,” he said.
For now, Djokovic is expected to start this season on 21 February at the ATP 500 tournament in Dubai, UAE, which will be his first event since his deportation from Australia over his vaccination status ahead of the Australian Open. The organizers of the ATP 500 and the UAE authorities don’t require mandatory vaccination of visitors from abroad.
Meanwhile, in a recent interview with the BBC, Djokovic claimed he is ready to sacrifice important tournaments so as to stay unvaccinated. He said that he would skip the Wimbledon in the UK and Roland Garros in France if organizers require vaccination.