Australia cancels number 1 tennis player Novak Djokovic’s visa
On Wednesday, the player arrived in Melbourne, when authorities discovered an issue in his application.
After being exempted from vaccine requirements, Djokovic was set to compete in the Australian Open.
According to Australian media, he has been told he would be deported, but his lawyers have announced they will appeal the decision.
The tennis player had been interrogated for hours in a room at Melbourne Airport while his visa and exemption status were checked.
His squad had not applied for a visa that allows for medical exemptions due to a lack of vaccinations. It’s unclear whether he’ll stay in Australia as his lawyers try to get the ruling overturned.
Djokovic hasn’t revealed whether he’s vaccinated, but he did say last year that he was “opposed to vaccination”.
Djokovic “failed to submit acceptable proof to meet the entry criteria to Australia, and his visa has been subsequently canceled,” the Australian Border Force said in a statement.
“Non-citizens who do not hold a valid visa on entry or who have had their visa canceled will be detained and removed from Australia,” it added.
In his own country of Serbia, his treatment has sparked an outcry. Srdjan Djokovic, Djokovic’s father, said his son was in a room guarded by police.
“This is not just a fight for Novak, but a fight for the whole world”, he stated in a press statement.
President Aleksander Vucic said the celebrity had been subjected to “harassment” and that “the entire country of Serbia” was behind him.
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison had previously stated that Djokovic would be denied entrance unless he could show proof that he was unable to be vaccinated due to medical reasons.
After experiencing the world’s stringent restrictions, Australia is now seeing tens of thousands of Covid-19 cases for the first time. More than 90 percent of Australia’s over-16 population is completely vaccinated, however, some people still cannot travel interstate or globally due of present precautions.
The Australian Open gets underway in Melbourne on January 17th.