Novak Djokovic has insisted that he would like to return to Melbourne for the next edition of the Australian Open despite being banned from entering the country for another three years. The Serb recently secured yet another Wimbledon title by beating Nick Kyrgios in the final earlier this month but is already looking ahead to future Grand Slams as he aims to beat Rafael Nadal’s tally of 22 major titles before the end of his career.
Djokovic is currently unable to travel to Australia after he was unceremoniously deported from Melbourne over his vaccination status on the eve of this year’s tournament. He is optimistic that he will be able to return at the next time of asking, though, and has also pleaded with US Open chiefs to allow him to compete at Flushing Meadows despite his refusal to be jabbed against COVID-19.
“I was deported from the country to which I would like to come back,” Djokovic told reporters at the opening of a tennis centre in Bosnia.
“I would love to come back to Australia. I love Australia, I had my best Grand Slam results in that country. Hopefully in January I can be there because I want to be there, and I also want to be in New York.
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“I want to be in America, I want to be everywhere I can possibly play. I am a professional tennis player, I don’t go into politics or anything else because that doesn’t interest me.
“I have my stance and I am a proponent for freedom to choose what is best for you. I respect everything and everybody, and at least I expect people to respect my decision.
“If I have permission, I’ll be there. If I don’t, I won’t be there, it’s not the end of the world. I still feel young in my own skin, I feel I have many more years to come so there will be a lot of opportunities.”
It seems as though Djokovic may be allowed to compete at next year’s Australian Open after all, with tournament chiefs reportedly confident that he will be able to resume his pursuit of Grand Slam titles in Melbourne at the very next opportunity. The country’s new prime minister, Anthony Albanese, is a huge tennis fan and is expected to take a more sympathetic view of the Djokovic case than his predecessors, according to the Daily Mail.
However, it remains to be seen whether the 35-year-old will be allowed to play at the US Open due to the restrictions currently in place with regards to gaining entry. The situation will leave Djokovic needing an exemption to take part in the year’s final Grand Slam tournament unless things change between now and the start of the on-court action in late August.
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