Tennis champion Novak Djokovic will be imprisoned in an Australian hotel until at least Monday. Unvaccinated tennis player visa requirements are not in order.
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic (34) likely won’t be able to defend his title at the Australian Open. The problem is not with his refusal to be vaccinated, but with his visa. Upon arriving in Melbourne, it was decided that his work visa did not allow a medical exception and therefore he was not allowed to enter the country. Djokovic will appeal, but it is not certain if he will reach his first major slam of the year. He has not yet been returned to his native Serbia. He will meet with the Ministry of the Interior on Monday.
His father responded to the smear campaign, “He is a victim of a political agenda.” Australian politicians want “the daddy” on his son. An extension of all Serbs, his father believed. They want to bring Novak and Serbia to their knees. But Serbia is a proud nation.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said there was not enough evidence for Djokovic’s medical exemption. He also emphasized that “no one is above the rules” and therefore the tennis player cannot be excluded.
He is also outspoken with other Australian politicians. “The federal government has asked us to help him with the visa application, but we won’t,” said Victoria’s Secretary of State for Sports Gala Polford. “We’ve always been clear about two things: visa approval is a matter for the federal government and medical waivers are a matter for doctors.”
From Serbia, President Aleksandar Vucic jumped to Djokovic. The harassment of the best player in the world must end.
In Australia, Djokovic’s counterattack was not greeted with open arms anyway. Last month, the country implemented a zero-tolerance policy to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Hundreds of military personnel were deployed to Sydney in July to check on residents’ respect for the lockdown. In Melbourne, the lockdown was not lifted until October – 262 days later. The capital, Canberra, was closed when only one case of corona was recorded.
Several sporting events have been canceled, but the Australian Open has been given the green light. One condition: all participants must be able to present a certificate of vaccination. But Djokovic managed to get around that with a medical exemption. Usually, an exception is only granted in the case of a severe heart condition, serious illness, recent corona infection, or allergic reaction to a previous vaccine. It is not known why Djokovic was granted the exemption. According to tournament organizers, an independent panel of medical experts reviewed and approved the application.
Many Australians are angry. ‘How absurd. We’ve been through six lockdowns, schools and small businesses have closed, funerals and weddings have been canceled, families have been living apart for months. And now the tennis player is getting an exemption,” tweeted David Southwick, a Victoria state politician. “It’s a kick in the stomach for all of our residents.”
Pictures broadcast by Australian TV channels showed Djokovic being taken to a government quarantine hotel in Melbourne on Thursday. It arrived on Wednesday. The first hearing of the appeal will be held on Thursday. The judge’s final decision will be made on Monday.
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