Novak Djokovic ‘Cleared To Play’ Australian Open Despite Refusing To Get Vaccinated: Report

Novak Djokovic has been “cleared to play” in the Australian Open in January despite his refusal to get the Covid-19 vaccination, according to the Herald-Sun of Australia.

The 21-time Grand Slam champion was deported from the country on the eve of the tournament back in January after having his visa revoked over his ability to “excite anti-vax sentiment” in Australia and automatically received a three-year ban.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in January Djokovic could be allowed entry sooner under the “right circumstances.”

“[The ban] does go over a three-year period, but there is the opportunity for them to return in the right circumstances and that would be considered at the time,” he said in an interview with the Australian radio station 2GB.

Djokovic withdrew from the U.S. Open last month because the Centers for Disease Control does not allow unvaccinated foreigners to travel to the United States. He did not play any tournamnts in the U.S. in 2022 but was allowed to play the U.S. Open in 2021, where he lost his bid for a calendar Grand Slam in the final to Daniil Medvedev.

Djokovic has said he won’t get the Covid-19 shots, even if that means he can’t go to certain tournaments.

He did play in the French Open, where he lost in the quarterfinals to Rafael Nadal, and at Wimbledon, which Djokovic won last month for his 21st Grand Slam title — one behind the men’s record of 22 held by Nadal.

“The biggest thing for [Djokovic] is his personal risk that he’s risking,” ESPN’s John McEnroe said. “Rafa, if he were to win this he would be two ahead [at 23 majors], that it would be tougher to separate himself in terms of the overall Grand Slam wins. And he’s talked about wanting to be at the top of the heap and the greatest ever, which I respect, that he has the guts to say that.”

With Nadal having been knocked out of the U.S. Open in the fourth round, he will remain at 22 majors, one ahead of Djokovic, heading into Australia.