Thursday, May 19

Australian Open: Novak Djokovic blocked on arrival at the airport because of a visa problem

The Novak Djokovic case has not finished talking. The world n ° 1 benefited from a medical exemption to participate in the Australian Open (January 17-30), causing a heated debate in the country. But on his arrival this Wednesday in Melbourne, he was blocked at the airport by Australian authorities because of a visa problem.

The man with 20 Grand Slam titles has surely lost the broad smile he displayed when announcing his departure, ending the suspense over his presence at the first Grand Slam of the season. Because not only the exemption which has been granted to him does not cease to cringe, but in addition he is far from having been welcomed with open arms when it comes to landing in Tullmarine at the end of the evening.

Barely set foot on Australian soil, Novak Djokovic, who has never communicated on his vaccination status, was entitled to a somewhat special welcome committee. Because before disembarking, the local border police (Border Force) realized that he had submitted the wrong type of visa to be able to enter the State of Victoria. Indeed, the one presented by the nine-time winner of the Australian Open does not allow medical exemptions for non-vaccination.

To unblock the situation, the authorities have asked for help from the state government, which is working with the Australian federation to organize the Grand Slam tournament. But the request was denied. “We will not be providing support for Novak Djokovic’s individual visa application to compete in the 2022 Grand Slam Australian Open. We have always been clear on two points: visa approvals are the responsibility of the federal government and medical exemptions are the responsibility of doctors, ”Acting Sports Minister Jaala Pulford said on Twitter.

Faced with criticism and controversy, the government of Victoria and Tennis Australia have asked Novak Djokovic to publicly reveal the reasons that allowed him to obtain an exemption to enter Australia without proving his vaccination status. “It would certainly be helpful if Novak explained the conditions under which he applied for and got a waiver,” said Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley, also director of the first Grand Slam of the year. While waiting for a solution to be found, Djokovic is forced to take his illness patiently at the airport.

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