Controversial Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic looks set to play Australian Open after missing US Open

A year after being arrested for refusing to reveal his vaccination status, nine-time winner Novak Djokovic is set to play the Australian Open in January.

Reports suggest that a tentative decision to allow Djokovic to play in the tournament was made by senior federal government officials.

The controversial 21-time Grand Slam champion was kicked out of the tournament last year after a long legal wait over his visa.

Djokovic also missed this week’s US Open because he was banned from traveling to the United States.

Camera iconDjokovic has won the Australian Open nine times. Credit: Mark Baker/PA

It comes as West Australian Storm Sanders and playing partner John Peers became the first Australians in 21 years to win a Grand Slam mixed doubles title in New York.

The new combination had to battle a set down to defeat Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens and France’s Edouard Roger-Vasselin 4-6 6-4 [10-7] in Saturday’s high-quality finale in New York.

Their triumph continued Australia’s excellent run of Grand Slam doubles success in 2022, which also included the men’s victories at the Australian Open (Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios) and Wimbledon (Max Purcell and Matt Ebden).

It was Queenslander Sanders’ first Grand Slam victory while Peers, 34, again showcased his longtime doubles prowess at the Arthur Ashe Stadium by adding the title to his men’s win at the 2017 Australian Open .

The fourth seeds showed their mettle in a fluctuating contest, notably producing their best tennis both early in the game and in the 10-point tiebreaker.

And their unstoppable finish saw them become the first Australian mixed doubles champions at Flushing Meadows since Rennae Stubbs and Todd Woodbridge won the title in 2001, when they could also celebrate a salary of $163,000 (A$238,000 ).

“I can’t believe we’re Grand Slam champions,” said Sanders, 28, the Queensland left-hander from Rockhampton, the town that produced the best left-hander of all, Rod Laver.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 10: Storm Sanders (R) of Australia and John Peers (L) of Australia celebrate with the championship trophy after defeating Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium and Edouard Roger-Vasselin of France during their match mixed doubles final on Day Thirteen of the 2022 U.S. Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 10, 2022 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Camera iconThe duo are the first Australians to win the title in 21 years. Credit: Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Turning to Peers, Sanders, who also reached the women’s doubles semi-finals, said: “It’s crazy – thank you so much for playing with me… Playing on the biggest court in the world, that was a memorable experience.”

For Melbourne’s Peers, it was particularly sweet as he finally won a Grand Slam mixed doubles title for the 32nd time, having delivered the winning ace on tiebreak in front of his wife and two daughters.

“Stormy, we have one! Well done!” he told Sanders.

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