Novak Djokovic insists he holds no grudges against Australia and is still eager to return next year for more tennis history.
The world No. 1, who was expelled from the country after a global drama over his vaccination status for this year’s Australian Open, also spoke of his joy that the refugees he briefly shared a detention center with have all now been released.
But Djokovic revealed that although he had heard about the change of government in the country, he was still unsure whether his visa to Australia would be reinstated.
Djokovic was briefly held in the Park hotel detention center in Melbourne in January before being expelled on the eve of the Australian Open when the federal appeals court upheld the immigration minister’s decision to revoke his visa.
Judges dismissed the COVID-19 unvaccinated tennis star’s appeal after the Australian government revoked his visa on “health and good order”.
Following his 6-3 6-3 6-2 win over Aljaz Bedene at the French Open on Friday, Djokovic gave his thoughts on his prospects of returning to the country next year to set a record for the first time since the election. break. -extension 10th Open title.
“In terms of the government (change), yes, I’ve heard the news, but I don’t know anything about whether my visa will be reinstated or whether I’ll be allowed to come back to Australia,” said the 20-time grand slam star. champion.
“I would love to. I would love to go there and play Australian Open.
“I don’t hold a grudge.
“Look, you know, it was what it was. If I get the chance to go back to Australia and play a place where I’ve had the greatest success of my career in grand slams, I’d love to come back. Let’s see see how it goes.”
When he first learned that the 20 refugees he shared the detention center with had all been released last month, Djokovic said: “I am very happy about it, of course, because I know it was very difficult for them, especially for those who stayed there for nine years.
“You know, I stayed there for a week and I can’t imagine how they felt for nine years.
“They have done nothing wrong, and they are asylum seekers and have stayed for nine years.
“That’s something I obviously didn’t understand why – but if I brought some light to that situation in a positive way for them so that this could happen, then of course I’m very happy because they got another chance in another country .”
He referenced the story of 24-year-old refugee Mehdi Ali — it was a pseudonym to protect his relatives in Iran — whose nine-year detention in Melbourne became a global celebrity.
“I don’t know if some of them stayed in Australia or not, but I know that… Ali, right? Yes, I know he went to the United States. I saw that, saw his pictures. I was very happy that he is happy, that he can live freely,” said Djokovic.
“We underestimate freedom. Until you actually live something like that and see what the circumstances are, then you don’t really have a sense of what it feels like when someone takes that freedom away from you.”