Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Djokovic plans 2023 Oz Open return: tournament chief

Djokovic plans 2023 Oz Open return: tournament chief

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Novak Djokovic attends a practice session ahead of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 14. AFP

Djokovic plans 2023 Oz Open return: tournament chief

Novak Djokovic intends to play the Australian Open in 2023, tournament chief Craig Tiley said Sunday while blaming “miscommunication” for his deportation ahead of this year’s event.

The world No1’s visa was cancelled ahead of the season-opening Grand Slam over his Covid-19 vaccination status, an incident that tarred the lead-up.

He flew out of Melbourne more than a week ago after failing in a last-gasp bid to stay and target a record 21st major title following a protracted legal battle with Australian authorities.

Tiley has kept a low profile since, but asked Sunday whether the unvaccinated Serbian planned to return for the 2023 tournament despite the possibility that his visa could be revoked for up to three years, he replied: “Yes.”

“Obviously, he’s got to play out this year, but that will be his intention,” he told public broadcaster ABC.

“At the end of the day, he’s the No1 player in the world and he really loves the Australian Open.”

But Daniel Andrews, premier of Victoria state that hosts the tournament, insisted Djokovic would only be welcome if he was vaccinated.

“Rafa [Nadal] had it right. It could all have been avoided if he just got vaccinated, and that fellow might think he’s bigger than the tournament. He’s not,” Andrews told reporters.

“That’s why the tournament’s happening without him. And it’s a great success.”

Djokovic’s long-time coach Marian Vajda said the previous week that the “whole situation hit him mentally”.

“It will hurt him for a long time and it will be difficult to get it out of his head,” he told the Sport.sk website, while blasting the “unjust political process” that led to Djokovic being booted out.

Tiley blamed “forever-changing conditions” and “miscommunication” with the federal government for his deportation after Djokovic was initially granted an exemption from Tennis Australia’s chief medical officer.

The rationale was that he had contracted Covid-19 in the past six months, but it was challenged and after a legal battle he ultimately had to leave.

Tiley said Tennis Australia sought clarity on multiple occasions from national authorities, but the evolving nature of the Omicron variant meant that “there was a lot of contradiction and complexity with information”.

“Even just in the past week since [the ruling], things have changed in relation to the response to the pandemic,” Tiley said.

“We were at the beginning of Omicron and that’s why we were constantly seeking clarity, and there was a lot of complexity and contradiction of information before, after and it continues to be all the way through.”

Djokovic is now back in Serbia with his image seriously damaged and his future unclear.

Reports have suggested he could sue Tennis Australia to recover his court and travel costs, but asked if legal action was anticipated Tiley said: “No”.


  • Hun Sen: Stop Russia sanctions

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said sanctions against Russia as a result of its military offensive in Ukraine should be stopped as they have produced no tangible results, and predicted that a global food crisis would ensue in 2023 as a consequence. Speaking to an audience at

  • Chinese tourists 2.0 – Coming anytime soon?

    Regional tourism is grappling with the absence of the prolific travellers and big spenders – the Chinese tourists. Cambodia, which has welcomed over two million Chinese tourists before Covid-19, is reeling from the economic loss despite being the first to fully open last November ‘To put

  • PM reflects on shoe throwing: Free speech or act of violence?

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 17 questioned whether a man who threw a shoe at him while he was in the US was exercising freedom of expression or if it was an act of hostility. Hun Sen was referring to an incident last week when

  • Siem Reap’s Angkor Botanical Garden opens

    The Angkor Botanical Garden was officially opened on May 19 with free entry for both local and international visitors for the first six weeks. The garden was established on a nearly 15ha plot of land in Siem Reap. “After the first six weeks, Angkor Botanical Garden

  • Pub Street on the cards for Battambang

    The Battambang Provincial Authority has announced that it is considering establishing a Pub Street in the area around the heritage buildings in Battambang town in a bid to attract more tourists. Battambang provincial governor Sok Lou told The Post that the establishment of a Pub

  • Hun Sen: Don’t react to hostility

    Prime Minister Hun Sen urged tolerance and thanked members of the Cambodian diaspora for not reacting to the hostility on display towards him by others while he was in the US to attend the May 12-13 ASEAN-US Special Summit in Washington, DC. In an audio