Australia cancels Djokovic's visa after vaccine exemption controversy

Sports Thursday 06/January/2022 08:38 AM
Australia cancels Djokovic's visa after vaccine exemption controversy
Novak Djokovic

Melbourne: Australia on Thursday cancelled world number one Novak Djokovic's visa to enter the country, Health Minister Greg Hunt confirmed.

Earlier, Djokovic had landed in Australia citing a medical exemption to play in the Australian Open. The particular vaccine exemption which Djokovic cited created a huge controversy and it received backlash from the Australian public. "The advice that I have literally just received before joining you is that the visa for Novak Djokovic has been cancelled. It's a matter for him whether he wishes to appeal that, but if a visa is cancelled, somebody will have to leave the country," CNN quoted Hunt as saying.

Djokovic was reportedly also held at the Melbourne airport after applying for a visa that did not permit medical exemptions for being unvaccinated for Covid-19.
Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday said Djokovic is no special case and the same rules as everyone will apply to him.

"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," Morrison tweeted.

Morrison on Wednesday had said that Djokovic would be on the first plane home if he was unable to explain why he received the COVID-19 vaccination exemption.

An independent commission reviewed 26 applications for a vaccination exemption and rubber-stamped "a handful", according to Australian Open organiser Craig Tiley.
The nine-time Australian Open-winning Serbian is the most successful player in the tournament's history. He is currently tied with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on 20 career Grand Slams.
Season's first Grand Slam begins on January 17.