Novak Djokovic Has Been Denied Entry Into Australia Despite Covid Exemption
| Last updated
Novak Djokovic has been denied entry into Australia, just a day after receiving an exemption to play in the Australian Open despite not being vaccinated.
Djokovic's chances of defending his ninth Australian Open title looked in doubt in October when the tournament confirmed players would need to be vaccinated.
Whilst the Serbian refused to confirm whether he'd been jabbed or not, his father called the decision to make them a requirement a form of 'blackmail.'
On Tuesday, the 20 time Grand Slam winner revealed that he'd been given an exemption to play despite not being vaccinated, a decision that didn't go down well with the public, especially host city Melbourne, which became the most lockdown city in the world last year.
However, on Wednesday, it was confirmed that there has been another twist in the tail, with the 34-year-old actually denied entry into the country due to a problem with his visa.
According to the Times, there was an issue with the application for a sub-visa to get into the country, to do with the vaccine exemption, that has stopped the tennis star at passport control.
The report says that the mistake wasn't noticed until Djokovic was already on the 14 hour flight from Dubai to Melbourne for the tournament.
There had been an attempt to get the application changed but this has not been supported by the state of Victoria, and if another solution can't be found then it could be the end of his time in Australia before it gets going.
"The federal government has asked if we will support Novak Djokovic’s visa application to enter Australia," Victoria's acting sports minister Jaala Pulford said.
"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."
Others with a similar issue have been detained at the airport and then sent on a flight back home from Australia.
Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison revealed that if Djokovic had insufficient evidence of why he should be given an exemption he would not be allowed into the country.
"If that evidence is insufficient, then he won't be treated any different to anyone else," Morrison said, "There should be no special rules for Novak Djokovic at all. None whatsoever."
American star Tennys Sandgren took a slight dig at the world number one. The 30-year-old has had to pull out of the tournament because he has not been vaccinated.
Explaining his decision he said it was "because he did not meet any of the criteria listed for one."
Britain's Jamie Murray also questioned the decision to give Djokovic an exemption, saying, "I mean, I don't know what to say about that really... I think if it was me that wasn't vaccinated, I wouldn't be getting an exemption."