Australia to overturn Djokovic visa ban, paving way for Australian Open return
The Australian Open will be an all-Australian affair for the first time next month.
To help celebrate the momentous occasion, Tennis Australia CEO James Clements has announced that next July 1, a ban on the Australian Open’s main draw will be lifted.
A seven-year ban for the former world No 1 is still in place for having received an unfair tennis advantage on the grounds of a perceived tennis advantage, over Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in 2010.
Last year, Federer was banned for three years after a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) investigation into his positive drug test in 2011. Nadal was banned for life from all tennis and sporting activities.
The suspension, which was upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in September 2015, effectively kept both men out of the Australian Open for three years.
This was due to a letter written by former WADA CEO Richard Pound in 2010 to Australian tennis authorities and then-federal minister for law and order Michael Keenan, which was at the centre of the ban.
WADA recommended against a ban due to the “lack of sufficient evidence of deliberate wrongdoing”.
Clements said the decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which was led by former tennis authorities Andy Roddick and Michael Chang, was the right way to go about it.
“This was the right decision for the Australian Open but has got very little attention from the outside world,” said Clements.
“The public debate that is happening right now about drug cheats and unfair advantage has been about Federer, Nadal and their decisions to take and the fact they have done something to gain an unfair advantage.”
Clements said that Tennis Australia had been talking with the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority, the US Anti-Doping Agency and the World Anti-Doping Agency, among others, ever since the ban.
“We’ve been talking to them and we’ve been preparing,” he said.
“We have a meeting for June next week and we want the right thing to happen and we hope the right thing will happen.”
“That doesn’t change the fact that this is an A