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Djokovic could play in the Australian Open again thanks to a change of government

The turnover in Australian politics following last May's elections, with Labor coming to power after nine years of liberal-conservative governments, could potentially make it easier for Novak Djokovic's travel suspension to be lifted.

The Serbian tennis player was deported on the eve of the 2022 Australian Open after the Australian government decided he may have disrupted civil order by his decision not to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Under Australian immigration law, Djokovic cannot be granted a new visa for a period of three years.

This, however, can change if the Australian Immigration Minister accepts a waiver on compelling or compassionate grounds.

This is where the Australian Open organizers are expected to put pressure on the government to allow the high-profile tennis star to play in their showpiece event.

"I'm waiting for news, it's really not in my hands right now," he said when asked about it.

"I'm hoping I can get some positive news soon."

Who decides if Djokovic can play the Australian Open?

Craig Tiley, director of the Australian Open, has expressed his intention to have the best tennis players back in the tournament and a return to a scenario identical to that of pre-pandemic times.

"We are at a different point in time now than we were nine months ago," he said.

"I think it's a very different environment with people traveling freely worldwide, and we hope to have all the best players here in January."

Tiley, Australia's top tennis official, was always favourable to Djokovic during the proceedings earlier this year.

He suggested that tennis players who were not vaccinated could enter if they had been infected with the virus no less than six months prior to the start of the tournament.

He was always in contact with Djokovic's entourage explaining what he could do but he did not have the approval of the central government.

Some Australian media even reported that the costs of the tennis player's lawsuit against the deportation decision applied on January 6 were paid in full by the organizers of the Australian Open. Though, Tiley flatly denied this.

What are the current COVID-19 rules in Australia?

As of July 6, 2022, travelers to Australia no longer have to provide documentation of their COVID-19 vaccination.

In addition, those not vaccinated will not need to apply for an exemption to enter the country.

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