The Australian Open last season was famous for two reasons. The first was Rafael Nadal becoming the first male player to win 21 grand slams on tour. The second reason was Novak Djokovic not being allowed to participate in the event. Djokovic had won the event nine times and had even arrived in Melbourne. His no-vaccine policy stirred up a controversy that lasted for 10 days.
Djokovic was deported back to Serbia after 10 days of reaching Australia. There were protests around the event as Craig Tiley, the director of the event, was in danger. Tiley said, “Well, I had death threats and had to be under security,” the tense atmosphere calmed down only after the event was over. Tiley came under criticism but stood by the government’s decision.
#UPDATE “There is a lot of finger pointing going on and a lot of blaming going on but I can assure you our team has done an unbelievable job,” Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley says after Novak Djokovic visa crisis, in video leaked to Sunday Herald Sun pic.twitter.com/StFV6vanzB
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) January 8, 2022
The 61-year-old was blamed as Djokovic was told that he could play at the event with a medical exemption. But the turn of events made the crowd furious at Tiley. He was at peace when the event began and could conduct it successfully. The world No.1 was also affected by the move, as it had been his favorite tournament.
Novak Djokovic reveals how he moved on from Australian Open nightmare
Djokovic had been playing at the Australian Open since 2005 and had never missed it until 2022. The 36-year-old is also the most decorated champion at the event, with 10 titles. But Djokovic said that he will never forget what happened to him during that time and hopes it will never happen again. He found support from the fans but also was asked the reasons for refusing the vaccine.
The 24-time grand slam champion explained that he always stays careful about what enters his body. Djokovic was questioned about prioritizing the titles over the vaccine, and he said his health is most important. He finally moved on from the incident, as there were more positive memories. Djokovic had won his first grand slam at the event in 2008. It was where he made a breakthrough on the tour.
— Eurosport (@eurosport) December 29, 2022
The three-time French Open winner came back this season to take the title at Melbourne. Djokovic was eager to play this year and showed what the event missed last year. He will again be the favorite next year to win the title, as it is only a few months until the grand slam season starts again.