Novak Djokovic denied entry into Australia after visa cancelled | Tennis News

World number 1 and reigning Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic denied entry to Australia at Melbourne airport; The Serbian had flown to Australia with a “permit of exemption” but the visa he had requested did not provide for medical exemptions, Djokovic could launch an appeal

Last updated: 05/01/22 23:30

Novak Djokovic’s entry into Australia with a vaccine exemption was ultimately denied

Novak Djokovic was denied entry to Australia after his visa was canceled by border force officials at Melbourne airport.

The world’s number one announced on Tuesday that he was traveling to Australia on a “permit of exemption”, but after landing in Melbourne on Wednesday evening he was held in solitary confinement after attempting to enter the country on a visa that does not allow medical exemptions for not having been vaccinated against Covid-19.

After being held for several hours at the airport, during which he was placed in solitary confinement in a police-guarded room, the Serb’s visa was canceled Thursday morning in Australia.

A statement from the Australian Border Force read: “The ABF can confirm that Mr. Djokovic did not provide adequate evidence to meet Australia’s entry requirements and his visa was subsequently canceled.

“Non-citizens who are not in possession of a valid visa upon entry or whose visa has been canceled will be detained and removed from Australia.

“The ABF can confirm that Mr. Djokovic has had access to his phone.”

Novak Djokovic – Sequence of events

Djokovic announces that he will travel to Australia on a “permit of exemption” on Tuesday 4 January.
While Djokovic is airborne, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the athlete will be on the “next plane home” if he cannot provide “acceptable evidence” that his exemption is legitimate.
Acting Sports Minister Jaala Pulford points out that the local government of Victoria, where the Australian Open is held, will not support Djokovic’s visa application.
The world number one arrives at Melbourne airport at around 11:30 pm on Wednesday 5 January.
At around 3:15 am local time in Australia, Djokovic’s father reports that his son is being held in solitary confinement at Melbourne airport.
At 5am local time, Goran Ivanisevic posts a picture on social media of himself and Djokovic’s physiotherapist seemingly waiting for the world’s No. 1. The post is titled “Not the most usual trip to Australia”.
Around 8:15 am local time, Djokovic’s visa confirmed that it was denied.

Shortly after the announcement, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison reiterated that no one was above the country’s border rules.

“Mr. Djokovic’s visa has been canceled. Rules are rules, especially when it comes to borders. Nobody is above these rules,” he said in a tweet.

“Our strong border policies have been critical for Australia which has one of the lowest death rates in the world from COVID, we are continuing to be vigilant.”

On Wednesday, Morrison said Djokovic would be “on the next plane home” if his evidence for a Covid-19 vaccination exemption to play in the Australian Open wasn’t satisfactory.

Djokovic has won the Australian Open nine times, including the past three years. He is tied with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on 20 career Grand Slam titles.

Novak Djokovic was held in solitary confinement at Melbourne airport before he was denied entry to Australia

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Novak Djokovic was held in solitary confinement at Melbourne airport before he was denied entry to Australia

Novak Djokovic was held in solitary confinement at Melbourne airport before he was denied entry to Australia

Greg Hunt, Australia’s health minister, made it clear that if Djokovic wishes to try to stay in the country, he should follow the appropriate procedures.

“It’s a question for him if he wants to appeal,” Hunt said in a statement. “But if a visa is canceled, someone will have to leave the country.”

While Djokovic was awaiting a visa decision, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic clarified his position and criticized the way the world’s number one was treated.

“I just finished a phone conversation with Novak Djokovic,” wrote Vucic on Instagram.

“I told our Novak that all of Serbia is with him and that our authorities are taking all measures to stop the harassment of the best tennis player in the world as soon as possible.

“In accordance with all the norms of international public law, Serbia will fight for Novak Djokovic, for justice and truth”.

Novak Djokovic has won nine Australian Open

Novak Djokovic has won nine Australian Open

Djokovic first revealed his intention to fly to Australia for the first Grand Slam of the year on Tuesday. He posted a picture on social media from an airport saying he was traveling on a “permit of exemption”.

The number one in the world has never shared whether he is vaccinated against Covid-19, but has criticized the mandates that stipulate that players must be dubbed.

Djokovic also did not make public on what grounds his medical exemption had been. Tournament director Craig Tiley said it would be “helpful” for the 34-year-old to clarify his situation on what exempts him from the vaccination.

“We’d like … Novak to talk about it and help us, but ultimately it’ll be up to him,” Tiley told reporters. “We are unable, even legally, to disclose other people’s medical information.”


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