05 January 2022

Novak Djokovic to be deported from Australia after failing to meet visa requirements over vaccination rules

05 January 2022

Novak Djokovic’s hopes of defending his Australian Open title look over after being refused entry into the country.

The Australian Border Force has confirmed Djokovic’s visa application has been cancelled and he will be deported.

The 34-year-old had travelled to Australia after announcing he had received a medical exemption from Covid-19 vaccination rules to compete in the tournament.

Novak Djokovic had said he had been granted a medical exemption to compete (Adam Davy/PA) (PA Wire)

Djokovic however, was held for several hours at the airport after flying to Melbourne and was ultimately denied entry.

There have been suggestions he could appeal but a statement from the ABF was strongly worded.

It read: “The Australian Border Force will continue to ensure that those who arrive at our border comply with our laws and entry requirements.

“The ABF can confirm that Mr Djokovic failed to provide appropriate evidence to meet the entry requirements to Australia, and his visa has been subsequently cancelled.

“Non-citizens who do not hold a valid visa on entry or who have had their visa cancelled will be detained and removed from Australia.

“The ABF can confirm Mr Djokovic had access to his phone.”

Djokovic had not made public on what grounds his medical exemption had been granted.

With Australia having strict rules regarding travel into and through the country for unvaccinated individuals, the decision had been highly controversial.

Djokovic’s vaccination status is unknown but he has previously voiced his scepticism on the subject.

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned Djokovic would be on the “next plane home” if he could not provide “acceptable proof” why he was exempt.

The Victorian state government also said it would not support Djokovic’s visa application.

Following the announcement by the ABF, Morrison said that entry exceptions could not be made for anyone.

Morrison tweeted: “Mr Djokovic’s visa has been cancelled. Rules are rules, especially when it comes to our borders.

“No one is above these rules. Our strong border policies have been critical to Australia having one of the lowest death rates in the world from COVID, we are continuing to be vigilant.”

Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic voiced his support for Djokovic over the visa issue (Hannah McKay/PA) (PA Wire)

Shortly before the ABF statement, Serbia’s president Aleksandar Vucic had weighed into the controversy and criticised the way Djokovic had been treated.

Vucic wrote on Instagram: “I just finished a phone conversation with Novak Djokovic.

“I told our Novak that the whole of Serbia is with him, and that our authorities are taking all measures to stop the harassment of the best tennis player in the world in the shortest possible period.

“In accordance with all norms of international public law, Serbia will fight for Novak Djokovic, for justice and truth.”

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