On Tuesday, World No 1 Novak Djokovic revealed on Instagram he had vaccine exemption to travel; Australian Open said his medical exemption passed ‘rigorous, multi-step’ review; Aus PM Scott Morrison said there would be ‘no special rules for Djokovic’; Visa issues in Melbourne delay things
Last Updated: 05/01/22 2:49pm
Novak Djokovic’s entry into Australia on a vaccine exemption has been delayed due to issues with the visa he and his team submitted.
Having landed in Melbourne, the 20-time grand slam winner was reportedly attempting to enter the country on a visa that does not permit medical exemptions for being unvaccinated, and when Border Force contacted government officials in Victoria to sponsor the visa, they refused to do so.
The Serbian arrived in Melbourne on Wednesday evening local time, but faced trouble at the border, with Acting Sports Minister Jaala Pulford confirming that the state government was not supporting his visa application to compete in the Australian Open.
She tweeted: “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.”
On Tuesday, the 34-year-old Serb revealed he had an “exemption permission” to travel and play at the Australian Open without a Covid-19 vaccination.
Djokovic has never revealed whether he is vaccinated against Covid-19, but has criticised mandates ruling that players must be double-jabbed.
The response to Tuesday’s exemption confirmation was heavily negative, both in Australia and around the world, and eventually saw Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirm that Djokovic would be “on the next plane home” if his evidence for a Covid-19 vaccination exemption to play at the Australian Open is not satisfactory.
“There should be no special rules for Novak Djokovic at all, none whatsoever,” PM Morrison said.
“He has to because if he’s not vaccinated, he must provide acceptable proof that he cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons and to be able to access the same travel arrangements, as fully vaccinated travellers.”
Rules in Victoria, where the Australian Open will begin on January 17, stated that players must be double-vaccinated against Covid-19.
More to follow…
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