Novak Djokovic Saga Causes Refunds to Outstrip Ticket Sales at Australian Open

Novak Djokovic may or may not play the 2022 Australian Open that starts Monday morning in Melbourne, which is Sunday night in the United States. The tennis star's passport and vaccination status has more tennis fans seeking refunds for tickets than those looking to buy them.

The Serbian is the top-ranked tennis player in the world and already the No. 1 seed for the 2022 Australian Open. He has won this tournament a record nine times, and he could become the first male to ever win the tournament four-straight years in the Open era.

Should Djokovic be allowed to play, he would face fellow Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round.

With his passport in limbo, those who are seeking refunds for their tickets have outpaced the number of those seeking tickets at this point.

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic of Serbia serves during a practice session ahead of the 2022 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 14, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

The English company called Search Intelligence released a statement after analyzing Google search trends performed by the bookmaker SportsPub.com, and they found that those seeking refunds to the Australian Open have a 25 percent higher search rate on Google than those who are looking to buy tickets.

Djokovic had his visa rejected last week, then went before a hearing to allow the visa to be reinstated so he could stay in the country and not be deported. Even though he won a court battle last weekend, he was later informed his visa would be revoked again by the country's immigration department.

Djokovic was detained nearly two weeks ago when he landed in Australia because of a problem with his visa application. After further investigation, it was deemed that the tennis star did not meet the country's vaccination requirements, in which Djokovic said he had been medically cleared.

The English search company stated Djokovic's status has led to so many people seeking ticket refunds.

"The news around Djokovic's arrest and proceeding court case has caused a huge uproar in the media," a SportsPub spokesperson said in a statement. "The tennis world no.1 was aiming to win a record 21st Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, but the governments immigration laws have created controversy around the tournament.

"The news that Djokovic has once again had his visa revoked has caused a divide with the public, with some fans supporting the notion that he has disobeyed Covid regulations, and others supporting the idea that he deserves the right to defend his title and make history once again.

Anti-vaxxers around the globe have declared a major foul against Australia for trying to ban Djokovic, who self-proclaimed that he'd been given an exemption into the country to play the grand slam event.

Australia, which has some of the toughest COVID-19 restrictions in the world, has seen a spike in recent cases by the tens of thousands. In Australia's population of those age 16 and over, more than 90 percent have been fully vaccinated. Despite that, there are people who still aren't allowed to travel between states or internationally.

Djokovic has been the No. 1 player in the world for 354 weeks. He's won 20 grand slam titles, with nine of them coming at the Australian Open in Melbourne. He was the No. 1 seed in this year's tournament.

The Australian Open, which is the first of the four grand slam tennis tournaments, starts Jan. 17 in Melbourne. The other grand slam events are the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.