World number one in Tennis Novak Djokovic is on the brink of missing out on playing the Australian Open which tips off on the 17th of January. This comes after the Australia Border Force (ABF) cancelled Djokovic’s visa despite getting an exemption pass to take part in the tournament.
Djokovic was granted a controversial exemption to enter Australia and compete in the Australian Open, but he was held up for several hours at Melbourne Airport by authorities before his visa was cancelled. The Australian Border Force stated that he had failed to provide adequate evidence to support his exemption, and the player has now filed a court case.
Djokovic has been one of the players who has not supported the aspects of vaccination, and this comes at a time when there has been a backlash over the vaccine exemption that he received in order to compete in the tournament. The Serbian player has not spoken about his vaccination status, but he stated last year that he was “against vaccination.”
Djokovic’s medical exemption was granted by two independent medical panels organized by Tennis Australia and Victoria state, according to tournament organizers.
However, border officials said he “failed to provide appropriate evidence” for entry after arriving from Dubai on Wednesday. And this is where all the contention has come from regarding his entry to participate in the Australian Open.
On social media, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed Djokovic’s visa had been revoked. “When it comes to our borders, rules are rules. Nobody is exempt from these rules. Our strong border policies have been critical to Australia having one of the lowest COVID death rates in the world; we will remain vigilant,” he said on Twitter.
What is being done to Enable Djokovic to Attend the Australian Open?
Djokovic was transferred from Melbourne’s Tullamarine airport to the Park Hotel, a government detention facility notorious for several coronavirus outbreaks. Although Djokovic’s lawyers have filed an injunction, he is expected to be flown out later on Thursday.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vui stated that his country had offered support to the world’s number one. “I told our Novak that the entire country of Serbia is behind him and that our bodies are doing everything possible to ensure that the harassment of the world’s best tennis player ends immediately,” he said in a statement.
According to Serbian media, Vui summoned Australia’s ambassador in Belgrade and demanded that Djokovic be released immediately to compete.
It is also believed that the Australian Border Force is now investigating two other individuals who were given exemption letters that don’t meet the Australian government entry requirements.
The government has stated clearly that they are willing to do everything to protect their population in the face of a fast-spreading omicron that has ravaged the European continent and Australia has boasted about being one of the few countries that have managed to ensure the safety of their people.
It will be key to watch how this all ends up. This is the first time that the Australian Open is happening since 2020 after the country ensured that the 2021 Australian Open didn’t happen given it was recovering from the effects of the first lockdown and COVID-19.
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Author: Moses Echodu
Moses is an avid Sports and Tech enthusiast. He loves to keep up to date with all the latest information and research on some of the most compelling stories.