Novak Djokovic’s quiet return to Australia this week could not be starker in contrast to the absurdity surrounding his arrival in Melbourne and subsequent deportation last January.
There has been no social media post nor any official words from the nine-time Australian Open champion as yet, though he did practise on Wednesday at Memorial Drive in Adelaide.
As for the reception Djokovic should expect to receive from Aussies, Tiley said, “I have a great deal of confidence in the Australian public. I think we have a very well-educated sporting public particularly those that come for tennis. They love their tennis. They love seeing greatness. They love seeing great athleticism, great matches.
An advisory from Tennis Australia suggests the 21-time major winner will speak by the end of this week ahead of his appearance in the Adelaide International beginning on 1 January.
The off-Broadway arrival differs significantly to the triumphant tone of a social media post 12 months ago announcing he would be allowed to play in the 2022 Australian Open.
The post, accompanied by a photograph of Djokovic standing beside a private jet, followed months of conjecture as to whether he would receive permission to play given the strict entry laws in place in Australia during the pandemic.
It famously backfired on the king of Melbourne Park as the fraught political landscape at the time collided with the then world No 1’s refusal to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
As is the case on the stadium courts around the globe, the world No 5 has received a mixed reception in Australia during his remarkable reign on the nation’s hard courts.
There is great respect for his remarkable deeds on the court. Djokovic has won his last 29 matches in Australia, which includes three major titles and also an ATP Cup for Serbia.
Novak Djokovic’s high-profile visa saga
Djokovic’s high-profile visa saga overshadowed the Australian Open earlier this year, pitting one of tennis’ biggest stars against the Australian government and dividing opinion in the country, which had enacted tough pandemic border restrictions.
The government revoked the Serbian’s visa shortly after his arrival in Melbourne on January 5 because he was not vaccinated against Covid-19.
Djokovic said he was under the impression he could enter the country because two independent panels associated with Tennis Australia and the Victorian state government had granted him an exemption on the grounds he had been infected with the virus a few weeks prior to his arrival.
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