Novak Djokovic: Serb's Australian Open fate rests in the hands of federal government

Tennis Australia says it's up to the federal government whether or not Novak Djokovic is allowed entry into the country to play in the 2023 Australian Open next January.

The governing body has no plans to make any representations on behalf of Djokovic, who is unvaccinated against Covid-19 and subject to a three-year ban from entering Australia but can apply to immigration minister Andrew Giles for an exemption. 

Earlier this year, Djokovic was deported from Australia days before the start of the Open as the Australian government ruled he may have disrupted civil order and his presence undermined the nation's pandemic response.

At Wednesday's launch for the 2023 Open, Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley told reporters: "What we're saying at this point is that Novak and the federal government need to work out the situation. And then we'll follow any instruction after that.

"I did spend some time with Novak at the Laver Cup. We spoke generally. He said that he'd obviously love to come back to Australia, but he knows it's going to be an ultimate decision for the federal government.

"He's accepted that position. It's a private matter between them. We'd like to welcome Novak back - he's a nine-time champion."

Tiley said the entry deadline for the tournament was in December and that Djokovic would need to have his eligibility determined by then.

Tiley also said that players from Russia and Belarus - who were banned from Wimbledon this summer - remained eligible to compete, although Russian players would not be able to represent their nation and instead play as independent athletes under a neutral banner.

"Like every other player they will have to go through a (visa) application process," he said.

"The only difference would be that they cannot represent Russia, they cannot represent the flag of Russia, and they can't participate in any activity such as (playing) the anthem of Russia, and have to play as independent players under a neutral (country) name.

"But they will be welcome to the Australian Open in January."

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