Tennis star Novak Djokovic arrives in Australia for first time since dramatic departure

Tennis star Novak Djokovic arrived at Adelaide Airport overnight ahead of his first tennis tournament in the country since he was sensationally deported a year ago.

The former World No.1 and nine-time Australian Open champion has had his three-year visa ban overturned ahead of the Adelaide International in January.

Mr Djokovic arrived at Adelaide Airport without fanfare on Tuesday night, hoping to avoid the media circus that followed him last time he was in the country.

The Australian government has since lifted its requirement for overseas visitors to show proof of vaccination upon arrival into the country.

Mr Djokovic was deported in January 2022 after he was found to not meet the Covid-19 vaccination requirements of the time.

The star will use the Adelaide International to prepare for his tenth Australia Open after he missed his chance at last year’s event.

The former Coalition government made the decision to wave the three-year ban and grant him a visa for the 2023 competition.

Mr Djokovic was briefly detained alongside asylum seekers at the Park Hotel detention centre in Melbourne’s CBD while awaiting a decision on his visa.

The twenty asylum seekers who were detained in the centre – some for as many as nine years – were released later that year after the public scrutiny attracted by the tennis greats stay.

“You know, I stayed there for a week, and I can’t imagine how they felt for nine years,” he said at the time.

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