Novak Djokovic’s vaccine controversy explained: Why tennis star’s visa was canceled ahead of Australian Open| Local News
Novak Djokovic’s vaccine controversy explained: Why tennis star’s visa was canceled ahead of Australian Open
| Local News | Local News
World No.1 tennis player Novak Djokovic led the Australian Open for more than a decade, winning nine titles in the first grand slam of the calendar year. But, 2022 will be the first year he won’t play in the Grand Slam tournament since 2005.
After flying to Melbourne on Wednesday, Djokovic was arrested by Australian border control due to an error in his medical exemption. Djokovic’s chances of tripling in this year’s grand slam have been in question for a few months now, after Australia announced players would need to be vaccinated to enter the country. The 20-time Grand Slam winner is notoriously opposed to the COVID-19 vaccination, although his vaccination status is still not public.
Australian Open Prime Minister Scott Morrison commented on the situation with a tweet:
Mr. Djokovic’s visa has been canceled. Rules are rules, especially when it comes to our borders. No one is above these rules. Our strict border policies have been essential for Australia to have one of the world’s lowest death rates from COVID, we continue to be vigilant.
– Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) January 5, 2022
On January 4, Djokovic made headlines when it was announced that the organizers of the Australian Open had granted him a medical exemption to participate in the tournament. This has sparked outrage in Australia, as the country’s citizens have faced intense restrictions since the pandemic began in early 2020.
There were reports on Wednesday that Djokovic’s arrival in Australia may be delayed. The Australian Border Force noticed that there had been an error in its request for medical exemption when Djokovic entered the country; Djokovic’s team did not specifically request that he be exempt from vaccination.
There are reports that Djokovic was questioned at the airport and will not be officially allowed into the country until the issue is resolved. After doing further research, Border Force asked Djokovic to leave the country. According to age, Djokovic’s lawyers plan to appeal.
With the skyrocketing of the omicron variant, Australia has tightened restrictions, with very little travel allowed. About 90% of the country’s population aged 16 and over are vaccinated, but the country still has its highest COVID count since the start of the pandemic, according to the BBC.
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Good year! I wish you all health, love and joy every moment and may you feel love and respect towards all beings on this wonderful planet.
I spent some fantastic quality time with my loved ones on my vacation and today I’m heading Down Under on an exemption clearance. It’s gone in 2022! pic.twitter.com/e688iSO2d4
– Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) January 4, 2022
Djokovic’s apparent vaccine exemption has angered Australians.
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Novak Djokovic is on his way to Melbourne tonight.
The world number one anti-vax was cleared to play at the Australian Open, after obtaining a medical exemption.
The decision sparked widespread outrage. @ reid_butler9 # 9News pic.twitter.com/nb1C8IBSsw
– 9News Melbourne (@ 9NewsMelb) January 5, 2022
“No one gets or will receive special treatment because of who they are or what they have done professionally,” Victorian Minister Jaala Pulford said of Novak Djokovic.
False. Athletes, actors and the wealthy have received special treatment since day one of the pandemic.
– Karen Sweeney (@karenlsweeney) January 4, 2022
Australians were denied for two years, but this guy – who has taken extraordinary liberties in the face of the coronavirus – gets his exemption. Novak Djokovic is an all-time great, but he’s not essential.
– Andy Maher (@AndyMaherDFA) January 4, 2022
It will be * VERY * interesting to see how the people of Melbourne, the city with the longest COVID-19 lockdown in the world, react to the fact that Novak Djokovic is playing at the Australian Open.
– Nikolaus Fink (@NikolausFink) January 4, 2022
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Djokovic has not suffered any injuries recently, at least none that he has made public, which has led to speculation as to what his reasoning for obtaining the medical exemption might be.
Participants in the Australian Open have already been arriving for about a week to self-quarantine. Vaccines are mandatory for players, and if they come in close contact with a positive case, they must undergo at least a seven-day quarantine.
The Australian Open starts on Monday January 17 and ends on Sunday January 30.
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