World No.1 tennis star Novak Djokovic has admitted he would love to return to Australia, despite being deported ahead of the grand slam earlier this year.
Djokovic was deported from Australia ahead of the first grand slam of 2022 in a scandal that made world wide headlines.
The World No.1 was detained briefly at Melbourne’s Park hotel detention centre in January.
After 10 days, the World No.1 was deported over his vaccination status when the federal appeal court upheld the immigration minister’s decision to cancel his visa.
Djokovic was subsequently unable to compete in a number of ATP events with countries requiring visitors to be vaccinated upon entry.
However, despite the global attention placed on Djokovic upon the controversial saga, the World No.1 has admitted he would love to be able to visit Australia again in the future.
And with Labor winning the election last week, Djokovic was asked about what he thought of the change in government after his French Open second round win.
“In terms of the government (change), yes, I heard the news, but I don’t know anything about whether my visa is going to be reinstated or whether I’m going to be allowed to come back to Australia,” said the 20-time grand slam champion.
“I would like to. I would like to go there and play Australian Open.
“I don’t hold any grudges.
“Look, you know, it was what it was. If I have an opportunity to go back to Australia and play a place where I made the biggest success in my career in grand slams, I would love to come back. Let’s see how it goes.”
Novak Djokovic speaks out on refugee plight
The World No.1 also spoke about the 20 refugees that were released from the detention, which he shared with them during his short stay.
“I’m obviously very happy about it, because I know that it was very difficult for them, particularly for the ones that stayed there for nine years,” Djokovic said.
“You know, I stayed there for a week, and I can’t imagine how they felt for nine years.
“They haven’t done anything wrong, and they are asylum seekers and stayed for nine years.
“That’s something I obviously did not understand why – but if I brought some light to that situation in a positive way for them, for this to happen, then of course I’m very happy, because they got another chance in different country.”
The Australian Open drama for Djokovic was compounded when longtime rival Rafael Nadal beat the World No.1 to the 21 grand slam mark as a result.
Before the French Open, Djokovic admitted the saga in Australia had taken its toll on him.
“It’s something that I never faced before,” he said.
“The amount of pressure and everything that I was feeling in the first few months of the year, as much as I’ve felt pressure in my life and my career, that was something really on a whole different level.
“But I feel it’s already behind me. I feel great on the court. Mentally as well. I’m fresh. I’m sharp. Yeah, it’s just something that happened in the past.”
Djokovic will take on Diego Schwartzman in the Third Round of the French Open.