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Djokovic Heads for Belgrade After Deportation From Australia

Novak Djokovic in Melbourne, Australia on Jan. 16.

Novak Djokovic in Melbourne, Australia on Jan. 16.

Photographer: James Ross/AAP/AP

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Belgrade, Serbia (AP) -- Novak Djokovic returned home Monday after being thwarted from defending his Australian Open title only to face a new predicament: He could be barred from the French Open this year, too, if he’s still not vaccinated against COVID-19.

A plane carrying the No. 1-ranked player touched down in his native Serbia, closing at least the first chapter in a dizzying drama that has resonance in the world of elite sports, Australia's pandemic politics and the polarized debate over the coronavirus shots.