Novak Djokovic, after some months of speculation, announced that he was to play the Australian Open under a medical exemption from the vaccine requirements. The decision to grant the Serbian such an exemption caused considerable controversy in Australia, which has lived under some of the most extreme restrictions since the pandemic began and many felt that Djokovic had been granted the exemption solely because of his status.
Whether or not that is the case is not clear and is unlikely to become so with the decision-making process behind the granting of the exemption private. But it all came to nothing with Djokovic denied entry to the country. While the Australian Open was willing to accept Djokovic’s medical exemption for vaccination, the Australian government was not. He was allowed to play in the tournament, in theory, but he couldn’t get into the country.
Novak Djokovic is suing to be allowed to stay in the country. Politicians and the Serbian embassy are involved as well, so perhaps he’ll get some type of last-second reprieve. As it stands now, though, it seems like the nine-time champion will not be able to go for another record tenth title.
Breaking: Novak Djokovic's visa has been cancelled. He's been told to leave the country today, two sources confirmed to @theage. His Lawyers are in the process of appealing. He's not demonstrated to Border Force sufficient evidence for his exemption https://t.co/TM5BF0Gu80
— Paul Sakkal (@paulsakkal) January 5, 2022
There had been a flurry of activity across the Australian and the Victorian government ahead of the Serbian’s arrival, with the Border Force apparently requesting the assistance of the Victorian government in dealing with the missing paperwork. This request was denied. The result was that Djokovic spent several hours stuck at the airport being questioned over the circumstances of his medical exemption, before being ordered on to a plane back to Serbia.
Greg Hunt, Australia's health minister, confirms Djokovic has failed to provide 'appropriate standards of proof' to enter the country and that he will be sent home.
— Oliver Brown (@oliverbrown_tel) January 5, 2022
This would be a significant blow to the world #1, who has won nine titles at the Australian Open, including the last three and was the favorite to add a record-breaking 10th title this season. More importantly still, that would have taken him past his great rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal to 21 Grand Slam titles. Rafael Nadal, it should be noted, is in Melbourne ahead of the Australian Open and will doubtless have high hopes himself of taking the lead in the Major title stakes.
Editor’s Note: This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes avaialble.
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