Novak Djokovic says there have been “positive signs” over his chances of playing the 2023 Australian Open.
Djokovic was involved in one of the biggest tennis controversies of the season when he arrived in Melbourne earlier this year and had his visa revoked as he is unvaccinated.
Under Australia’s immigration laws, he could potentially not be granted another visa for three years.
However, Australia’s prime minister at the time of the ruling, Scott Morrison, said there could be an opportunity for Djokovic to return earlier under the “right circumstances”.
Djokovic says he hopes to have an answer on whether he can play the first Grand Slam of 2023 “in the next few weeks”.
“When it comes to Australia, there are some positive signs, but unofficially,” he told Sportal.
“We are communicating through my lawyers in Australia. In fact, they are communicating with the authorities in charge of my case. I hope to have an answer in the next few weeks – whatever that answer might be, but of course I am hoping for a positive one – so that I have enough time to prepare for the start of the season, if that start is going to happen in Australia.
“I really want to go there, I am over what happened this year and I just want to play tennis, it is what I do best. Australia has always been the place where I have played my best tennis, the results speak for themselves, so I am always extra motivated to go there. This time even more, so.
“I am hoping for a positive answer.”
Djokovic is a nine-time champion at the Australian Open and has won the last three times he has played the tournament.
If he plays in Melbourne in 2023 he would have the chance to move level with Rafael Nadal on 22 Grand Slam titles.
“I am waiting for the permission again,” added Djokovic.
“It is a good thing that they have now opened the borders for the unvaccinated foreigners travelling to Australia. I have that ban, I hope it will be lifted. As I said, it is not in my hands, I hope the people in the Australian government will give a positive answer, that is all.”
Djokovic’s vaccination status has meant he has missed large chunks of the season, including the Australian Open and the North America hard-court summer, which finished with the US Open.
“I respect that everyone has a different way of thinking in relation to my situation and my circumstances,” he said.
“After all, I have never offended anyone or ever tried to be disrespectful in any way. I always tried to show that it is important for everyone to have the right and freedom of choice.
“For the choices I made, I knew there would be certain consequences like not going to America, and that is it. For Australia it was a different case, I had the exception, but in the end it did not work out. We know what happened, let’s not go back.”
Reflecting on his season, Djokovic, who will finish his year at the Paris Masters next week followed by the ATP Finals in Turin, said: “It was a very interesting year, peculiar.
“I always strive to draw positive things from whatever the experience is, that is part of my character and my approach to life. I know that everything that happened in Australia and afterwards – the way people have treated me, which did not feel nice and it is something I have never experienced before in my life – has helped me to learn some valuable lessons.
“Many masks have fallen, so to say – throughout this process, it was interesting for me to observe the way some people behaved towards me this year. I keep going, motivated and inspired.
“I love this sport, I love giving it my all in every practice because every day is different, and there is always some sort of excitement, some sort of unknown, it is a challenge. The young guns are coming, they are hungry for success, so that is something that gives me extra motivation as well.”