Djokovic’s entry into Australia in limbo
Novak Djokovic is being held at Melbourne Airport this morning after being denied entry over problems with his visa. He arrived in Australia late last night and was quizzed by Border Force over the documentation he’s using to support his medical exemption to play in the Grand Slam while unvaccinated. To further complicate matters, reports say he’s applied for the wrong visa. Yesterday, Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews had flagged “issues” surrounding Djokovic’s travel declaration. “No individual competing at the Australian Open will be afforded any special treatment,” she said in a statement.
HOW DID WE GET HERE?
On Tuesday night, the men’s world #1 tennis player confirmed he’d received a COVID vaccination exemption allowing him to compete at the Australian Open. He’s previously said that he’s against compulsory vaccination and there has been ongoing speculation about his vaccination status. Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley said Djokovic’s application was assessed on a no-names basis, and he was also signed off by Victorian officials. Many people expressed their frustration that he’s been waved through while they have been unable to see their families during the pandemic. Meanwhile, cheeky AFL legend Kevin Bartlett reckons Djokovic should now be considered “the greatest tennis player ever” because he’s “won 20 Grand Slams and 87 titles and a billion dollars without us knowing he had a debilitating medical problem.”
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
If Djokovic makes it through border controls, and that’s a big ‘if’, he’s got some explaining to do. That’s what Victoria’s Acting Premier Jacinta Allan expects, and so too does Tiley. In fact, he says he doesn’t know the details of why Djokovic was granted an exemption because it’s private medical information, so he reckons it’d be much clearer if the Serbian star cleared it up himself. It’s going to be an interesting fortnight before the Aussie Open gets underway on 17 January…
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