Tennis star Novak Djokovic could return to Australia sooner than anticipated following his deportation, the country’s prime minister says.
The top men’s player was deported on Sunday after losing a visa battle that centred on the fact he is unvaccinated.
Under Australia’s immigration laws, Djokovic, 34, cannot be granted another visa for three years but Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he could
be allowed entry sooner under the “right circumstances.”
The ban does go over a three-year period, but there is the opportunity for them to return in the right circumstances and that would be considered at the time,” he said in an interview with the Australian radio station 2GB on Monday.
Australian law does provide for compelling or compassionate reasons for the three-year visa ban to be waived.
This would potentially allow Djokovic to take part in the Australian Open tournament next year.
This year’s tournament, which has been overshadowed by the unvaccinated player’s visa troubles, began in Melbourne on Monday.
Djokovic had been scheduled to play later in the day – but his dramatic deportation just hours before ended his hopes of winning a record 21st Grand Slam title at the event.
The Serbian player boarded an Emirates flight to Dubai from Melbourne late on Sunday, arriving just before dawn local time on Monday.
He was seen stepping off the flight wearing a mask and carrying two bags. His final destination was not immediately known.