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Novak Djokovic looks as his documents after landing in Belgrade, Serbia, Jan. 17, 2022.

Djokovic arrives in Belgrade, walks through airport

Novak Djokovic arrived in his native Serbia after being deported from Australia because he was not vaccinated against COVID-19, ending his hopes of defending his Australian Open title.

The tennis star’s exit from Australia closed at least the first chapter in a dizzying drama that has resonance in the world of elite sports, Australian pandemic politics and the polarized debate over the COVID-19 shots.

But even as one saga appeared to close, another opened as questions arose over whether he would be barred from the next Grand Slam tournament, the French Open.

A plane carrying the No. 1-ranked player from his stopover in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, touched down in the Serbian capital, Belgrade, where he was expected to receive a hero’s welcome.