BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Novak Djokovic was denied entry into Australia and had his visa canceled after arriving in Melbourne late Wednesday to defend his title on the season-opening tennis main.
The Australian Border Pressure issued an announcement early Thursday native time saying Djokovic failed to supply acceptable proof to fulfill entry necessities and “has visa has been subsequently canceled.”
The highest-ranked Djokovic flew in after receiving a medical exemption from the strict coronavirus vaccination necessities in place for the Australian Open, the place he’s a nine-time winner.
Australian media reported that Djokovic’s staff had utilized for the fallacious sort of visa for an individual with a medical exemption.
Djokovic’s attorneys are anticipated to enchantment the choice, which got here after the 20-time main winner needed to spend greater than eight hours on the at Melbourne Tullamarine Airport ready to seek out out if he could be allowed into the nation.
Djokovic’s father, Srdjan Djokovic, instructed the B92 web portal that his son was held “in a room which nobody can enter” on the airport, guarded by two policemen.
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Djokovic’s participation within the Australian Open has change into a sizzling political matter, with many Australians livid that he was granted an exemption to enter the nation. In the meantime, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic stated on Instagram that spoke to Djokovic whereas he was being held on the airport, and added that Serbian authorities had been taking measures “so the harassment of one of the best tennis participant on the earth be stopped within the shortest potential time.”
Hypothesis of a potential situation with the visa emerged whereas Djokovic was in transit and escalated with combined messages from federal and state lawmakers.
Djokovic’s revelation on social media that he was heading to Australia in search of a file twenty first main title sparked some debate and loads of headlines on Wednesday, with critics questioning what grounds he might have for the exemption and backers arguing he has a proper to privateness and freedom of selection.
Australian Open event director Craig Tiley defended the “fully official utility and course of” and insisted there was no particular remedy for Djokovic.
The Victoria state government-mandated that solely totally vaccinated gamers, workers, followers and officers might enter Melbourne Park when the event begins on Jan. 17.
Solely 26 individuals related with the event utilized for a medical exemption and, Tiley stated, solely a “handful” had been granted.
Among the many causes allowed for these making use of for a vaccination exemption can embody acute main medical situations, severe opposed response to a earlier dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, or proof of a COVID-19 an infection inside the earlier six months.
Djokovic examined optimistic for the coronavirus in June 2020 after he performed in a collection of exhibition matches that he organized in Serbia and Croatia with out social distancing amid the pandemic.
Issues about Djokovic’s visa standing took some time to flow into.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison initially stated the medical exemption choice was a matter for the federal government of Victoria, the place Melbourne is the state capital.
“They’ve supplied (Djokovic) with an exemption to come back to Australia, and so we then act in accordance with that,” Morrison stated. “States present exemptions for individuals to enter on these foundation, and that’s been taking place for the final two years.”
House Affairs Minister Karen Andrews then clarified the border course of.
“Whereas the Victorian authorities and Tennis Australia might allow a non-vaccinated participant to compete within the Australian Open, it’s the Commonwealth authorities that can implement our necessities on the Australian border,” Andrews stated. “If an arriving particular person just isn’t vaccinated, they have to present acceptable proof that they can’t be vaccinated for medical causes to have the ability to entry the identical journey association as totally vaccinated vacationers.”
When requested once more about Djokovic’s case, Morrison added: “If that proof is inadequate, then he received’t be handled any completely different to anybody else and he’ll be on the following airplane dwelling.”
“And so if medical exemptions had been supplied by medical professionals and that’s been furnished to him as a proviso for him to get on that airplane, effectively, that should stack up when he arrives in Australia,” the prime minister stated.