Australian Open: Novak Djokovic's entry into the state delayed due to vaccine exemption visa issues

Acting Sports Minister Jaala Pulford has confirmed that the state government doesn't support his visa application to compete in the Australian Open.

Novak Djokovic; Credit: Twitter/@DjokerNole

Novak Djokovic ended weeks of speculation about his participation in the 2022 Australian Open on Tuesday and landed in Melbourne on Wednesday. But he was reportedly attempting to enter the country on a visa that doesn’t permit vaccine exemption for being unvaccinated. Then border forces contacted the government officials in Victoria to sponsor the visa, but they refused to do so. Djokovic had earlier revealed that he will play in the first Grand Slam after receiving an exemption from being double vaccinated. His vaccination status is unknown. Although he has been a vocal critic of mandatory ruling.

Acting Sports Minister Jaala Pulford has confirmed that the state government doesn’t support 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.”

Djokovic has never revealed his vaccination status and he has been a vocal critic of mandatory ruling that players should be double-jabbed in order to participate in the tournament. On Tuesday, he revealed that he had an “exemption permission to travel and play at the Australian open without a COVID-19 vaccination. 

The response to Djokovic’s exemption confirmation was negative as he received backlash from around the world and eventually the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said “ Any individual seeking to enter Australia must comply with our border requirements,”

Djokovic must provide proof that he cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons: Scott Morrison

“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.

“So we await his presentation and what evidence he provides to support that. If that evidence is insufficient, then he won’t be treated any different to anyone else and he’ll be on the next plane home.

“There should be no special rules for Novak Djokovic at all, none whatsoever.”

Criteria listed by the Australian Technical Advisory Group as permissible reasons for a medical exemption range from acute major medical conditions to any serious adverse event attributed to a previous dose of Covid-19 vaccine.

A possible explanation could be that,  Djokovic has contracted coronavirus for a second time at some point in the past six months, having previously caught it during Adria Tour event in Belgrade in 2020.

That would negate the need for vaccination, according to rules published last year by one of two independent medical panels involved in the decision.

The Serbian is the most successful player in the history of Australian Open with nine singles tile and he will be challenging to clinch a record 21st Grand Slam title if he participates in the first Grand slam starting on January 17.




WRITTEN BY
Sportslumo Desk

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