Novak Djokovic’s visa has been canceled by the Australian Border Force as the top-ranked star faces the real prospect of being forced to leave Australia.
The Serbian star has been detained at Melbourne Airport this morning for more than seven hours.
Djokovic’s lawyers are in the process of challenging the decision, two sources with knowledge of the situation at The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age confirm.
Commonwealth reviews the Djokovic exemption
It is understood that Djokovic has been separated from his coach Goran Ivanisevic and his support team has been treated.
They have chosen to stay at the airport, and some reports claim that the world’s No. 1 will be moved to a hotel.
SMH and The Age report that a federal government source familiar with the episode said there had been doubts about whether Djokovic had adequate evidence to justify his release. Unvaccinated people must show papers at the border before they get it completely clear.
The point of contention is whether a COVID-19 infection in the last six months was a sufficient reason to secure entry into Australia under federal guidelines. It is understood that this supports Djokovic’s exemption.
The decision has been described as an advertising stunt by a Tennis Australia source, where the movement was only aimed at Djokovic and not other players who had already entered the country with the same exception.
Djokovic granted the Australian Open dispensation
“I do not know how the Feds will [address the fact that] several tennis players are already in the country with the same exception that Novak is given, “the source told The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.
“It seems to us that the Feds are reacting to the media by letting some players in, but not the world’s No. 1.”
The controversial decision has sparked a heated reaction from Serbian President Alexander Vucic, who said he spoke to the star this morning, claiming that “all of Serbia” supported Djokovic.
“Our authorities are taking every precaution to stop the harassment of the best tennis player in the world in the shortest possible period,” Vucic wrote on his Instagram account.
“In accordance with the norms of international public law, Serbia will fight for Novak Djokovic, for justice and truth. Otherwise, Novak is strong as we all know him.”
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