Entry of Novak Djokovic’s vaccine exemption in Australia delayed

Novak Djokovic’s entry into Australia on a vaccine exemption has been delayed due to issues with the visa he and his team submitted.

After landing in Melbourne, the 20-time Grand Slam winner reportedly attempted to enter the country on a visa that does not allow medical exemptions for non-vaccination, and when the Border Force contacted government officials in Victoria to sponsor the visa, they refused to do so. so.

The Serb arrived in Melbourne on Wednesday evening local time but encountered problems at the border, with acting Sports Minister Jaala Pulford confirming that the state government was not backing his visa application to participate in the Open from Australia.

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 assistance with visa applications to participate in the 2022 Australian Open Grand Slam.

“We have always been clear on two points: visa approvals are the responsibility of the federal government and medical exemptions are the responsibility of physicians. “

On Tuesday, the 34-year-old Serb revealed he had an “exemption permit” to travel and play at the Australian Open without a Covid-19 vaccination.

Djokovic never disclosed if he was vaccinated against Covid-19, but criticized warrants stating that players must be double-bitten.

The response to Tuesday’s confirmation of the exemption was strongly negative, both in Australia and globally, and eventually saw Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirm that Djokovic would be “on the next plane home” if his evidence of a Covid-19 vaccination exemption playing at the Australian Open is not satisfactory.

“There should be no special rules for Novak Djokovic, none at all,” Prime Minister Morrison said.

“He has to do this because if he is not vaccinated he has to provide acceptable proof that he cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons and to be able to access the same travel arrangements as fully vaccinated travelers.”

Rules for Victoria, where the Australian Open kicks off on January 17, stipulated that players must be doubly vaccinated against Covid-19.

Tournament director Craig Tiley said earlier that it would be “helpful” for Djokovic to clarify his situation on what exempts him from vaccination.

“We understand and fully understand that some would have been upset that Novak Djokovic had come because of his statements about vaccination over the past two years,” Tiley told reporters.

“We would love… Novak to talk about it and help us out, but in the end, that will be up to him.

“We are not in a position, even legally, to disclose the medical information of other people.”

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Morrison’s comments were echoed by a statement from Australian Home Secretary Karen Andrews.

“The Australian Border Force will continue to ensure that those arriving at our border comply with our strict border requirements,” the statement read.

“No individual participating in the Australian Open will receive special treatment.”

Tiley revealed that 26 unvaccinated players had requested an exemption, with Djokovic being just a “handful” given the nod according to guidelines set by federal regulators.

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

One possible explanation is that Djokovic contracted coronavirus for the second time at some point in the past six months, having already caught it during his much-criticized Adria Tour event in Belgrade in 2020.

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

The preparation for the first grand slam of the season was dominated by the participation of Djokovic.

Speculation has escalated after he withdrew from the Serbian squad participating in the ATP Cup in Sydney without explanation.

The tournament offers Djokovic another chance to set himself apart from rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, the three of whom have each won 20 Grand Slam titles.

He was a challenge for the grand slam of the calendar year in 2021, but failed in the US Open final by losing to Daniil Medvedev, the man he beat in the final of the Australian Open last year.

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