Novak Djokovic to miss the 2022 Australian Open

Jamie Shaw in Australian Open 16 Jan 2022
Djokovic will not be defending his title Down Under (Photo by Loic Baratoux/ABACAPRESS.COM)

Defending champion Novak Djokovic will miss the 2022 Australian Open after being deported from the country due to visa issues.

Djokovic has been an ever-present in the Australian Open since 2005 but has been prevented from competing in this year’s opening Grand Slam following an 11-day legal dispute.

The Australian government cancelled the world number one’s visa on the grounds of “health and good order” relating to Covid and the story has made global headlines.

Djokovic admitted he was “extremely disappointed” but accepted the ruling and left the country on Sunday on a flight bound for Dubai.

The 34-year-old was originally granted a medical exemption to enter Australia by two different independent health panels – one commissioned by Tennis Australia, the other by the state government of Victoria – after testing positive for Covid-19 in December.

However, the Australian Border Force detained him on January 5 for ‘not meeting federal coronavirus requirements’, and his visa was subsequently revoked.

A judge overturned that decision but the government stepped in again last Friday to revoke the visa for a second time, claiming it was in the “public interest.”

Djokovic was set to resume his quest to make history by challenging for a record 21st Grand Slam. He is currently locked level on 20 with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

The Serbian star has dominated the event in recent years, claiming the title on a record nine occasions, including the last three in a row.

Italy’s Salvatore Caruso, the world number 150, is the “lucky loser” who will now replace Djokovic in the draw and will face Serbia’s Miomir Kecmanovic in Round One on Monday.

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