Djokovic denied entry to Australia, visa cancelled
Sydney: Novak Djokovic’s chance to play for a 10th Australian Open title was thrown into limbo Thursday when the country denied him entry and canceled his visa because he failed to meet the requirements for an exemption to COVID-19 vaccination rules.
The top-ranked Djokovic announced on social media Tuesday that he had “exemption permission” and landed in Australia late Wednesday after receiving a medical exemption from the Victoria state government that was expected to shield him from the strict vaccination regulations in place for this year’s first major tennis tournament.
But border authorities did not accept the exemption. The Australian Border Force issued a statement saying Djokovic failed to meet entry requirements.
“The rule is very clear,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison told a news conference Thursday. “You need to have a medical exemption. He didn’t have a valid medical exemption. We make the call at the border, and that’s where it’s enforced.”
Health Minister Greg Hunt said the visa cancellation followed a review of Djokovic’s medical exemption by border officials who looked “at the integrity and the evidence behind it.”
He said Djokovic was free to appeal the decision, “but if a visa is canceled, somebody will have to leave the country.”
Nadal ‘sorry’ for Djokovic but says Serb knew the risks
Melbourne: Rafa Nadal said he felt sorry that Novak Djokovic was denied entry into Australia, but added that the Serb knew for months he could potentially face problems if he arrived without being vaccinated against COVID-19.
Djokovic, 34, was detained by officials at the border on Thursday amid a storm of protest about the decision to grant him a medical exemption from vaccination requirements to play in the Australian Open. The world number one, who has won nine Australian Opens including the last three and is tied with Nadal and Roger Federer on 20 career Grand Slam titles, is holed up in a quarantine hotel in Melbourne as his lawyers contest the federal government’s entry ban.
“Of course I don’t like the situation that is happening,” Nadal told reporters after winning his match at the Melbourne Summer Set ATP 250 tournament. “In some way I feel sorry for him.”But at the same time, he knew the conditions since a lot of months ago, so he makes his own decision.