'No special rules for Novak Djokovic', says Australian Prime Minister
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Novak Djokovic’s coach Goran Ivanisevic posted a photo on social media after the Serb was dramatically denied entry to Australia. Speculation has been mounting for some time over whether Djokovic would take part in the Australian Open after officials insisted only vaccinated players against Covid-19 could play in Melbourne.
Djokovic’s entry into Australia was then delayed over an issue with his visa after he arrived Down Under on Wednesday.
Authorities noticed that his team had made a mistake on his application, so he is yet to officially enter Australia.
Djokovic appeared set to play in the Australian Open after being officially declared exempt from vaccination rules.
However, his team had not requested the visa that permits medical exemptions for being unvaccinated.
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All players and staff at the tournament must either be vaccinated or have an exemption granted by an independent panel.
The world number one arrived in Melbourne on Wednesday and is awaiting a decision.
His coach Ivanisevic gave the Serb’s fans a welcome update, posting a photo of himself alongside Djokovic’s physio Ulises Badio.
He added the caption “Not the most usual trip Down Under,” along with several surprised and shocked emojis.
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It is reported that Australia’s border force sought clarification from the Victorian state government regarding Djokovic’s visa.
However, state government Minister Jaala Pulford tweeted the Serb’s application would not be supported, adding that visa approvals are up to the federal government.
Australian Open organisers say the defending champion – who has won the Grand Slam a record nine times – has not been given special treatment, but the decision has infuriated the Australian population.
The country is seeing tens of thousands of Covid-19 cases for the first time after imposing some of the world’s strictest restrictions.
Ahead of the 2022 season curtain-raiser, Victoria state’s strict vaccination mandate had motivated players to get their shots before the Australian Open, where fans and staff will also be banned if unvaccinated.
Australian prime minister Scott Morrison insisted Djokovic will not be allowed into the country unless he provides sufficient evidence that he cannot receive the vaccine for medical reasons.
Australian Open qualifying begins on January 10, with the full tournament kicking off a week later and concluding on January 30.
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