Novak Djokovic: Tournament director Craig Tiley welcomes the nine-time Australian Open champion.

Novak Djokovic, a nine-time winner, is welcome to compete at the Australian Open if he can obtain a visa, according to tournament director Craig Tiley.

In a dramatic turn of events in January, the Serbian former world No. 1 was kicked out of the country for not being vaccinated against COVID-19.

Djokovic is barred from re-entering the country until 2025, though the Australian government has the authority to waive the ban at its discretion.

Tiley has stated that the 35-year-old Wimbledon champion would be eligible as well if the visa ban is lifted as part of his deportation.

Tiley has had no contact with the government regarding Djokovic, and the Australian Open organizers are unable to lobby on his behalf.

"At this point, Novak and the federal government need to work things out, and then we'll follow any orders," Tiley told reporters.

"We cannot lobby on this issue. It's a private matter between the two of them, and depending on the outcome, we'd welcome him to the Australian Open."

Djokovic, who also missed the US Open due to a lack of vaccinations, stated last month that he was awaiting "positive news" from Australian authorities.

However, former Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews, an opposition lawmaker in Australia, said this week that lifting Djokovic's ban would be a "slap in the face" for Australians who have been vaccinated.

In other news, Tiley has stated that Russian and Belarussian players will be able to compete under a neutral flag at the Australian Open.

Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine earlier this year, tennis authorities barred Russian and Belarussian players from international team competitions but allowed them to compete in regular tour events.

The French and US Open Grand Slams allowed them to compete as neutrals, but Wimbledon outright prohibited them.

"At this time, Russian and Belarussian players will be eligible to compete in the Australian Open," Tiley explained.

"The only difference is that they will not be able to represent Russia - or the Russian flag.

"They are not permitted to participate in any activity, including the Russian anthem, and must play as independent players under a neutral name.

"However, they are welcome to the Australian Open in January."