Novak Djokovic, the world number one men’s tennis player, had his visa to enter Australia unexpectedly canceled upon his arrival in Melbourne, amid a massive outcry over a vaccination exemption. For the second time in a straight, Australian open has rejected tennis star Novak Djokovic’s visa over his right to remain in the nation unvaccinated. He might be deported and face a three-year immigration suspension as a result of the decision based on “health and good order.”
Djokovic was detained at the airport for many hours before border authorities informed him that he did not meet entrance requirements.
He was subsequently sent to a federal jail facility. On Monday, a judge will rule on his deportation.
The dispute revolves around an exemption he received to compete in the Australian Open.
The Serbian player, who has stated his opposition to vaccination, was given a medical exemption by two independent medical panels organized by Tennis Australia, the event’s governing body, and Victoria state, according to tournament organizers.
Many people were outraged by the decision in a country where there has been an increase in Covid-19 cases and where more than 90 percent of individuals over the age of 16 are completely vaccinated. People have also been subjected to some of the world’s most stringent restrictions, and some are still unable to travel between states or abroad.
Border authorities stated on Wednesday that the 34-year-old had “failed to present acceptable documentation” for entrance after arriving from Dubai. He is presently being kept at a hotel in Melbourne’s Carlton neighborhood that is utilized for immigration detention.
“Non-citizens who do not have a valid visa at the time of entrance or whose visa has been revoked will be detained and expelled from Australia,” the Australian Border Force (ABF) said in a statement.
Djokovic’s team has filed an appeal against ABF’s ruling, and a hearing at the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia is set on Monday.
Australia’s Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, refuted that Djokovic was singled out and stated that no one was above the country’s regulations. However, he said that Djokovic’s opinion on immunization has gotten a lot of attention.
“When people make public pronouncements about what they claim to have, what they want to do, and what their claims are, they bring a lot of attention to themselves,” Mr. Morrison told reporters.
Though Djokovic’s explanation for the exception has not been revealed, Mr. Morrison stated that contracting Covid-19 in the previous six months was not one of the federal requirements for one.
Mr. Morrison, who previously stated that he would back Victoria’s exemption decision, is now being accused of politicizing the subject. The prime minister is under pressure as a result of the Covid-19 spike, and a federal election is set for May.
Separately, the country’s deputy prime minister, Barnaby Joyce, stated that if Djokovics had not spoken the truth, he should be deported.
“Then he’s using another nation’s sovereign capability for a joke,” Mr. Joyce told the BBC. “You can’t just go around the world believing that because you’re wealthy, you’re above the rules of other countries.”
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic defended Djokovic, saying he was a victim of “harassment” and that “entire Serbia” backed him. Mr. Morrison disputed that the visa cancellation was due to “any specific viewpoint in reference to Serbia,” calling the country a “close ally of Australia.”
Outside the hotel where Djokovic was being kept, fans of the tennis player showed their displeasure with his treatment. Srdjan, the player’s father, claimed his son was being kept in an airport room guarded by police. “This is a struggle for the entire globe, not just Novak,” he added in a statement.
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Tennis in Spain begins. Rafael Nadal, who is in Melbourne preparing for the Australian Open, stated that it is “natural” for Australians to get “extremely irritated with the situation.”
“The only obvious thing for me is that if you are vaccinated, you can play in the Australian Open 2022,” he stated, adding, “Of course, after a lot of people died for two years, my belief is [that] the vaccination is the only way to halt this pandemic.”
Former Australian Open tournament director Paul McNamee, though, told local media that the visa reversal was unprecedented and “smells” of politics.
Many Australians have previously blamed the government for allowing the affluent and famous to do whatever they wanted while regular people were kept apart from sick and dying loved ones.
According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, two more persons were having their medical exemptions evaluated. Mr. Morrison stated that the ABF had already informed Tennis Australia of visa expectations.
The Australian Open 2022 kicks off on January 17 in Melbourne. Djokovic has won the tournament nine times before.