(LifeSiteNews) The Australian government has granted a temporary visa to tennis star Novak Djokovic, so that he can compete in January’s Australian Open.
Speaking with reporters Wednesday, Djokovic confirmed initial media reports that the Australian government had granted him the visa.
“I received the news [Tuesday] morning, and I was very, very happy to hear that news,” Djokovic said.
“It has been a tough year with everything that happened, obviously, in Australia for me and for the people who are close in my life,” he continued.
“This came as a great new year present, I think, and I am looking forward to going to Australia and hopefully having another successful Australian Open. That has been historically my most successful Grand Slam.”
Djokovic also said that the visa relieved pressure he felt and clears up uncertainty for him and those close to him regarding the off-season, the Epoch Times reported.
“I look forward to starting the new year in Australia, and we’ll see how the next year goes,” the tennis star said.
Andrew Giles, the Australian immigration minister, confirmed on Thursday that Djokovic was granted a visa. According to Giles, the grounds for the visa ban no longer exist.
In January, Djokovic was detained in Australia when he came to the country to play in the Australian Open, as LifeSiteNews previously reported. The Australian government claimed that Djokovic failed to apply for a visa that allowed for a medical exemption to the country’s COVID jab mandate for foreign travelers. Djokovic had previously been granted a medical exemption in December having recovered from a bout of COVID.
A legal battle ensued, ending with a judge’s ruling that Djokovic’s visa must be reinstated. Nevertheless, Djokovic was deported from the country shortly afterwards. The then-immigration minister Alex Hawke said that the deportation was motivated by fears that Djokovic’s views on the jab would cause “civil unrest,” and that Djokovic’s presence would discourage Australians from getting the jab. His visa was, therefore, cancelled. Typically, when Australia cancels someone’s visa, that person cannot apply for a visa again for three years, barring some exceptional circumstance.