Tennis number one Novak Djokovic has been rejected entry to Australia upon the cancellation of his visa.
According to Oliver Brown, Australia’s health minister, Greg Hunt, explained that the tennis legend had failed to produce ‘appropriate standards of proof’ and that he would subsequently be deported.
The saga surrounding Djokovic’s attempts to compete at the Australian Open had hugely escalated this week with the Serbian having arrived in Melbourne for the tournament on Wednesday.
Djokovic’s visa cancelled by Australia
The BBC reports that authorities noticed that Djokovic’s team had made a mistake on their application for entry into Australia.
It’s claimed that they had not requested a visa that permits medical exemptions for those who are not vaccinated against COVID-19.
All players or staff who are planning to compete at the Australian Open must either be vaccinated or have an exemption approved by an independent panel of experts.
However, the BBC have now reported in the last few minutes that Djokovic’s visa has indeed been cancelled and that he is expected to be deported on Thursday, pending a potential appeal.
Prior support for Djokovic
The news comes just hour afters both Serbia’s president, as well as Djokovic’s father, had shown support for the multiple Grand Slam winner as he bid to compete at the Australian Open.
Aleksandar Vucic is quoted as saying after speaking to Djokovic: “I told him Serbia is with him. Our authorities are doing everything to see that the harassment of the world’s best tennis player is brought to an end immediately.”
While Djokovic’s dad remarkably told Sunrise: “They are holding my son captive. If they don’t release him in the next half an hour, we will fight them on the street.”
It all makes for a very complicated situation bedded in rules, laws and morality, so be sure to check out the BBC’s fascinating explainer to unpick a remarkable episode that could drag on for days.
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison eventually confirmed the news by tweeting: “Mr Djokovic’s visa has been cancelled. Rules are rules, especially when it comes to our borders.
“No one is above these rules. Our strong border policies have been critical to Australia having one of the lowest death rates in the world from COVID, we are continuing to be vigilant.”
Djokovic might not defend his title
It’s a remarkable situation that makes it seem very unlikely that Djokovic will be able to defend his Australian Open crown, which is the Grand Slam title that he has lifted the most in his career.
The 34-year-old emerged victorious in 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2019, 2020 and 2021 for a total of nine trophies that makes him the most successful male player of the open era.
By comparison, Djokovic has ‘only’ won the French Open twice, Wimbledon on six occasions and the US Open three times over.
However, as things stand, it seems more likely than not that Djokovic will have to wait a little longer to move past Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for Grand Slam wins in men’s tennis. Stay tuned.