Novak Djokovic’s hopes of defending his Australian Open title appear to be over after he was denied entry.
The Australian Border Force has confirmed that Djokovic’s visa application has been canceled and the tennis superstar is being deported.
The 34-year-old had traveled to Australia after announcing that he had received a medical exemption from Covid-19 vaccination rules to compete in the tournament, which began January 17.
However, Djokovic was detained at the airport for several hours after the flight to Melbourne and was ultimately denied entry.
Some reports suggest he might appeal the decision, but a statement from the ABF was strong.
It said, “The Australian Border Force will continue to ensure that those arriving at our border comply with our laws and entry requirements.
“The ABF can confirm that Mr Djokovic did not provide adequate evidence to fulfill the entry requirements to Australia and that his visa was subsequently canceled.
“Non-citizens who do not have a valid visa upon entry or whose visa has been canceled will be arrested and deported from Australia.
“The ABF can confirm that Mr Djokovic had access to his phone.”
The Serb Djokovic had not made public the reasons for his medical exemption.
Since Australia has strict entry and transit rules for unvaccinated people, the decision was very controversial.
Djokovic’s vaccination status is unknown, but he has previously expressed skepticism.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned Djokovic that he would be on the “next plane home” if he could not provide “acceptable evidence” for his release.
The Victorian state government also said it would not support Djokovic’s visa application.
Following the announcement by the ABF, Morrison said no entry exemptions could be made for individuals.
On Twitter, Morrison said: “Mr Djokovic’s visa has been canceled. Rules are rules, especially when it comes to our limits.
“Nobody stands above these rules. Our strict border policies were critical to Australia having one of the lowest death rates in the world from COVID. We remain vigilant. “
Shortly before the ABF declaration, Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic intervened in the controversy and criticized the way Djokovic was dealt with.
Vucic wrote on Instagram: “I just finished a phone call with Novak Djokovic.
“I told our Novak that all 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 time.
“In accordance with all norms of international public law, Serbia will fight for Novak Djokovic, for justice and truth.”
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