World No. 1 male tennis player Novak Djokovic traveled all day from Dubai to Australia on Wednesday to begin his journey to defend the Australian Open singles championship.
On Thursday, following a 10-hour siege with government officials at Melbourne Airport, he was told to leave the country, where he was overnight detained in a room over questions about the validity of his visa and evidence supporting medical care. Exemption from corona virus vaccine. Djokovic, a 20-time Grand Slam champion and one of the biggest stars in the sport, was exempted from participating in the Australian Open despite not being vaccinated.
Djokovic did not leave the country immediately, and his team filed a legal challenge against the verdict on Thursday. The judge said Djokovic would be allowed to stay in Australia until Monday, while his lawyers waited for a hearing.
A spokesman for the tennis star did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A few hours later, fans waved Serbian flags outside the Melbourne hotel where Djokovic is believed to be staying, protesting against the decision to reject his visa.
The chain of events represented a startling turn for Djokovic, who received special, last-minute permission to play in the Open for more than 24 hours, boarding intercontinental flights, mainly by the Prime Minister of Australia. That he was not welcomed in the country.
President at one point Alexander Vusic He spoke with Djokovic in Serbia and criticized the Australian government for hosting his country’s biggest sports star.
In the last two years this epidemic has wreaked havoc on the sport of all sorts. The Tokyo Summer Olympics have been postponed for a year. Major events took place in vacant lots. The star players have been isolated before their matches after being tested positive for the virus.
The situation involving Djokovic, one of the most polarizing figures in tennis, was applicable to any of them. This led to a confrontation between a sports superstar and the most powerful leader in one of the world’s richest countries, where government officials, citizens, the media and even some colleagues criticized the exception, prompting a sudden change.
This decision promises to be another flash point in the debate on vaccines, especially in Australia, where equality is considered a sacred principle – and the so-called “tennis” Open, and it is highly desirable. Often appears as a whole nation of sports fanatics.
A Report On Thursday, the Australian Border Force said, “Our border guards will continue to ensure compliance with our laws and entry requirements.” To meet the entry requirements for Australia, Mr. The ABF confirms that Djokovic failed to provide proper evidence, and that his visa was later revoked.
According to Djokovic, this was the worst controversy in a life filled with the latest and most debatable, almost all brought about by the behavior of a champion, who could not have been as willing and flexible as he was. On it.
Djokovic was never ashamed to express his opinion Unusual views Science and medicine (he once voiced support for the idea that prayer and faith can purify toxic water), and on several occasions expressed his opposition to vaccine orders, saying that vaccination is a personal and personal decision. However, he did not say until this week whether he had been vaccinated.
On Tuesday, he Announced He said on Twitter that all people entering Australia were exempt from the requirement to be vaccinated or isolated for 14 days. He then boarded a flight from Dubai to Australia.
In a statement that day, Craig Tyle, CEO of Tennis Australia, explained that players seeking exemptions should meet with a team of two medical professionals. This process involves editing personal information to ensure privacy.
“Fair and independent protocols have been established to evaluate medical exemption applications, which will help us ensure that the Australian Open 2022 is secure and enjoyable for all,” Daily said. “The focus of this process is on decisions made by independent medical professionals and given due consideration by each applicant.”
In a televised interview on Wednesday, Daily said 26 players had applied for exemptions and had been granted “to a few”. According to the Daily, 99 per cent of the more than 3,000 people who came to Australia for the tournament were vaccinated. Some of those excluded had a medical condition or Govt-19 for the past six months, although Australian health officials said it would not be enough to enter the latest infection late last year.
Tennis Australia said Djokovic was exempted by an independent panel appointed by the Victoria Health Department.
Djokovic landed at Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport around 11:30 pm on Wednesday. By then, he had become the central figure in the firestorm over how he got permission to enter Australia, which is experiencing a startling rise in corona virus cases.
The country waged one of the most successful battles against Govt-19, but it remains Comes at a steep price. The severe locking lasted for several months. Until recently, international borders were largely closed. Incoming travelers had to adhere to expensive, two-week isolation. For a long time, even domestic travel between states was banned. The country has experienced about 2,200 deaths, but has been dealing with more than that since it opened its borders late last year. 30,000 cases a day.
When Djokovic flew to Melbourne, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison demanded the government’s authority to deny Djokovic entry.
“Any individual wishing to enter Australia must comply with our border requirements,” Morrison said.
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“We are waiting for his presentation and what evidence he gives us to support it,” Morrison added. “If that evidence is not enough, he will not be treated differently than anyone else, and he will come home on the next flight. There should be no special rules for Novak Djokovic. Nothing.”
Also on Wednesday, Victoria’s Acting Sports Minister Jala Bulford, who owns the open site Melbourne, said the state government would not support Djokovic’s application for a visa. Pulford wrote on Twitter, “Visa approvals are a matter for the federal government.”
His statement follows comments from Australian Home Secretary Karen Andrews that the government has the power to prevent Djokovic from entering the country. In a statement titled,Australia’s border rules apply to everyone“While the Government of Victoria and Tennis Australia allow the unvaccinated player to participate in the Australian Open, the Commonwealth Government on the Australian border will meet our needs,” Andrews said.
“I don’t think I’m going to get an exemption if I’m not vaccinated,” Britain’s Jamie Murray said Tuesday.
Others criticized the Australian government for confusing the process and mistreating the world’s number one ranker.
Dennis Sandgren, an American professional against the vaccine order, said on Twitter that “Australia is ineligible to host the Grand Slam.”
Djokovic, who has won 20 Grand Slam titles with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, would have been desirable to win his 21st title in Melbourne, where he has won 9 times. Melbourne has a small but energetic community of Serbian foreigners who attend all of Djokovic’s matches at the Rod Laver Arena, the main venue of the Open, and offer him rare enthusiastic support from his homeland.
While professional tours for men and women do not require vaccinations, tennis officials are at the mercy of local, state and national governments in power to hold tournaments. If Djokovic needs a vaccine to enter countries or a job vaccination for a local government job, Djokovic may face these situations in other competitions.
The French Open, Wimbledon and US Open, which take place in late spring and summer, have not yet announced whether vaccination is needed.
Andrew Das, Isabella Kwai, Livia Albeck-Ripka And Damien Cave Contributed report.