Novak Djokovic was stranded at a Melbourne airport overnight, caught in an international political maelstrom over whether Australia would honor the world’s number 1 medical exemption https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/djokovic -will-defend-australian -open-title-after-exemption-vaccination-2022-01-04 from the vaccine requirements or send him home due to a visa error.
Djokovic, who is aiming for a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam victory at the Australian Open, landed at Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport at around 11:30 p.m. local time on Wednesday after a 14-hour flight from Dubai. But he was still awaiting clearance early Thursday morning to enter the country after it emerged his team had applied for a visa that does not allow medical exemptions.
This prompted the local government in Victoria, the state where the Open is played, to say it would not support Djokovic’s candidacy, putting his fate in the hands of the federal government and Prime Minister Scott Morrison. The extraordinary decision by the Australian government to bar Djokovic from entering the country due to an error on his visa form threatened to spark a diplomatic incident between Canberra and Belgrade.
“I just finished my phone conversation with Novak Djokovic,” Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic posted on Instagram. “I told our Novak that all of Serbia is with him and that our bodies are doing everything to stop the harassment of the best tennis player in the world immediately.” According to all standards of international law, Serbia fight for Novak , truth and justice. Novak is strong, as we all know. “
Vucic had summoned the Australian ambassador to Belgrade and demanded that they immediately release Djokovic to play, Serbian media reported. Djokovic’s father, Srdjan, said his son waited alone in an airport room under armed guard for the final decision on whether he could enter the country.
“I have no idea what’s going on, they’ve kept my son captive for five hours now,” Srdjan told Serbian online version of Sputnik. “If they don’t let him go in half an hour, we’ll rally in the streets, it’s a battle for everyone.” “This isn’t the most usual Down Under trip,” coach Goran Ivanisevic commented alongside an Instagram selfie https://www.instagram.com/p/CYW3ffmsQJZ from the airport lounge , accompanied by breathtaking emojis.
Morrison faced huge backlash https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/tennis-reaction-djokovic-medical-exemption-play-australian-open-2022-01-05 over his government’s decision to ‘grant Djokovic a medical exam exemption from vaccination to play at the Open, leading to a clash between the Prime Minister’s Conservative administration and the left-wing Victorian government led by Prime Minister Dan Andrews. Australia, particularly the state of Victoria, has suffered the longest cumulative lockdown in the world and an outbreak of the Omicron variant has sent the number of cases to record levels.
After the backlash, Morrison suggested that Djokovic’s involvement was not a done deal and that he should satisfy the federal government, which is responsible for international borders and visas and was not part of the exemption process. Morrison said shortly before Djokovic’s arrival that there would be “no special rules” for him regarding his exemption.
“If that evidence is insufficient, then he will not be treated any differently from the others and he will be on the next plane back,” Morrison said at a press conference earlier. VISA BUNGLE
Djokovic arrived on an Emirates flight, but when border officials reached out to the Victorian government to ask if the state would officially support the world’s number one visa, he said no. “The federal government has asked if we will support Novak Djokovic’s visa application to enter Australia,” Victoria Acting Sports Minister Jaala Pulford said.
“We will not be providing Novak Djokovic with individual assistance with visa applications to participate in the 2022 Grand Slam Australian Open.” We have always been clear on two points: Visa approvals are the responsibility of the government federal, and medical exemptions are the responsibility of physicians. “
It was not clear whether the federal government would allow its entry. The Border Force did not respond to a request for comment. Tennis Australia and government officials intervened quickly to point out that Djokovic had not received any preferential treatment.
ALSO ANGRY The Serb, who previously refused to disclose his vaccination status, has won nine titles at Melbourne Park, including the last three. He confirmed on Tuesday that he had received a vaccination exemption to allow him to play at the Australian Open, which begins on January 17.
Great Australian tennis player Rod Laver, who gave his name to the main showcourt at Melbourne Park in Victoria, has warned that Djokovic could face hostility from the local crowd. “I think it could get ugly,” Laver told News Corp. “I think the Victorian people would think, ‘Yes, I would love to see him play and compete, but at the same time, there is a good and a bad way.’
“Yeah, you’re a great player and you’ve played and won so many tournaments, so it can’t be physical. So what’s the problem ? Melbourne local Christine Wharton said it was a “disgrace”.
“We all did the right thing, we all went out and had our jabs and our boosters, and we have someone coming from overseas and all of a sudden he was exempt and can play. , and I think that’s an absolute shame and I won’t look at it. “
(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)