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Djokovic undefeated at Nitto ATP Finals and gets green light to play Australian Open

It has been a perfect week so far for Novak Djokovic. Not only is he undefeated at the Nitto ATP Finals through two matches, but he also received news on Tuesday that he will be allowed to play the 2023 Australian Open.

Djokovic was infamously deported out of Australia prior to the first Grand Slam of 2022 because of an invalid visa due to being unvaccinated. That punishment came with a possible three-year ban from the country, but Australia’s immigration minister has decided not to enforce it.

“Well, of course I was very happy to receive the news yesterday,” the 35-year-old Serb said after beating Andrey Rublev 6-4, 6-1 on Wednesday afternoon in Turin. “Yeah, it was a relief obviously knowing what I and people closest to me in my life have been through this year with what happened in Australia and post-Australia, obviously. I could not receive better news–for sure–during this tournament, as well.

“Did it affect my game today? I would like to believe it did. Why not? I don’t think it did affect me too much because I’m familiar with what I need to do in order to prepare myself for every match. Of course, knowing that I have clarity now, what I do in the offseason, starting the season in Australia, also of course did relieve some of the pressure me and my team. Just giving that clarity makes it great for us.”

Djokovic, who finds himself atop the Red Group at 2-0 having also defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas on Monday, is 82-8 lifetime at Melbourne Park with a record nine titles. He has triumphed in each of his last three appearances (2019, 2020, 2021).

“(The) Australian Open has been my most successful Grand Slam,” he assured. “I made some of the best memories there. Of course I want to go back there, I want to play tennis, do what I do best, (and) hopefully have a great Australian summer.”

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.