Australia to overturn Djokovic visa ban, paving way for Australian Open return
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) announced yesterday that the Australian Open could begin in 2020, with a “reformed” Grand Slam event that will include men’s world number one Roger Federer in 2017.
But will the ban-lifting plan get enough backing at the Australian Government? The ban on the four-time Grand Slam winner came into effect on December 19 and lasts until the end of 2018.
The latest twist in the story
On the face of it, the ban is a bit of a cop-out.
Roger Federer and the Australian Government announced they would co-sponsor an overhaul of the sport, on the same day he was stripped of his singles title at the Australian Open in September.
But Federer isn’t the only athlete with a tennis ban in place at the moment.
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) wants more time to undertake the necessary testing and make sure it doesn’t return inconsistency.
This latest ban will last until the end of the year.
For Djokovic, it means another year of battling to return to Australia after having to endure a three-year ban for doping.
The ban, imposed when Djokovic tested positive for Nandrolone in 2014, has been widely criticised in Australia.
Djokovic has made it clear he is not keen to return to Australia, and has insisted his return is now a question of when, not if.
I’m not keen
“We believe it’s still a way around and I don’t want to do that,” Djokovic told Sky Sports News in July.
“To keep playing in Australia you have to be here, to keep running through this court with a big group of people who are trying to defeat you.
“It’s the same old story, you have to be here to fight.