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Visa cock-up leaves Novak Djokovic in Australian Open limbo

Novak Djokovic's participation in this month's Australian Open remains in doubt over visa issues....



Visa cock-up leaves Novak Djok...
Other Sports

Visa cock-up leaves Novak Djokovic in Australian Open limbo

Novak Djokovic's participation in this month's Australian Open remains in doubt over visa issues. 

The men's world no.1 proudly announced his departure for Melbourne earlier this week, claiming to have received a medical exemption to enter Australian without declaring his vaccine status.

Djokovic has kept his status a closely-guarded secret, saying last year, "It's an intimate decision, and I don't want to go into this game of pro and against vaccines."

All Australian Open participants must be either fully vaccinated against coronavirus, or receive a medical exemption allowing them to bypass Victoria State's mandatory 14-day quarantine period.

The Serb's roundabout way of competing in Melbourne has proved about as popular as a fart in a lift. Former Australian Open doubles champion Jamie Murray said, "I think if it was me that wasn't vaccinated, I wouldn't be getting an exemption."

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Djokovic will be "on the next plane home" if he cannot prove his worthiness of a medical exemption.

It's reported that Australian Border Force officials quizzed the nine-time Australian Open champion into the early hours of Thursday morning there at Melbourne's Tullamarine Airport.

The Age claimed that a federal government source familiar with the matter, said there were question marks over Djokovic having the adequate documentation to be in receipt of a medical exemption.

Further complicating matters, Djokovic attempted to fly into Melbourne on a visa that did not allow entry for individuals with medical exemptions for not being vaccinated.

Acting Sports Minister Jaala Pulford tweeted to say, "The Federal Government has asked if we will support Novak Djokovic’s visa application to enter Australia.

"We will not be providing Novak Djokovic with individual visa application support to participate in the 2022 Australian Open Grand Slam.

"We’ve always been clear on two points: visa approvals are a matter for the Federal Government, and medical exemptions are a matter for doctors."

Two-time Australian Open quarter-finalist Tennys Sandgren has decided to not even bother with medical exemptions, deciding instead to pull out of this year's tournament.

Tennis journalist Ben Rothenburg tweeted, "Tennys Sandgren is pulling out of the #AusOpen because of the vaccination requirement here.

“Sandgren did not try to apply for any medical exemption, he told me, because he did not meet any of the criteria listed for one.”

Border Force Australia still have the discretion available to them to allow Djokovic entry to Victoria, despite the reluctance of the local government.

But Prime Minister Morrison warned, "My view is that any individual seeking to enter Australia must comply with our border requirements.

"Now Novak Djokovic, when he arrives in Australia, he has to if he's not vaccinated, must provide acceptable proof that he cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons to be able to access the same travel arrangements as fully-vaccinated travellers.

"So we await his presentation and what evidence he provides us to support that.

"If that evidence is insufficient, then he will be treated no different to anyone else and he'll be on the next plane home.

"There should be no special rules for Novak Djokovic at all. None whatsoever."

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Anti Vax Australian Open Covid-19 Melbourne Novak Djokovic Scott Morrison Tennis Victoria State

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