Novak Djokovic to be deported from Australia following vaccine status row

By Heather Carrick
Thursday, 6th January 2022, 8:01 am
Updated Thursday, 6th January 2022, 10:59 am
Novak Djokovic’s Australian visa has been cancelled by officials shortly before he was due to play at the Australian Open. (Credit: Getty)
Novak Djokovic’s Australian visa has been cancelled by officials shortly before he was due to play at the Australian Open. (Credit: Getty)

Novak Djokovic is set to be deported from Australia shortly before taking part in the country’s grand slam tournament after officials cancelled his visa.

The world number one was due to defend his title at the Australian Open before getting news that he would no longer be permitted into the country due to a mistake with his visa application.

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Despite a requirement for all participants to be vaccinated, Djokovic was made exempt from vaccination rules to play in the tournament, which caused outrage across the country.

After arriving in Melbourne on 5 January, Australian officials held the tennis star at the airport before taking the decision to overturn his visa.

Djokovic failed to provide ‘proof’ to enter country

Currently, unvaccinated travellers are unable to enter Australia.

Djokovic, who is unvaccinated, asked Australian Open bosses if he could be exempt from a rule which required all players to be vaccinated on grounds of an undisclosed medical reason.

Bosses gave the tennis star the thumbs up, but upon entering the country on Wednesday, Australian Border Force were unsatisfied with his visa request after noticing a mistake on his application.

Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt said that Djokovic was set to be deported as he had failed to show “appropriate standards of proof” to enter the country.

Victorian Government refused to sponsor star

After Djokovic was held at Melbourne Airport, Border Force officers requested that the Victorian Government individually sponsor the sports star.

However, the government refused.

Acting sports minister Jaala Pulford tweeted: “We will not be providing Novak Djokovic with individual visa application support to participate in the 2022 Australian Open Grand Slam.

“We’ve always been clear on two points: visa approvals are a matter for the Federal Government, and medical exemptions are a matter for doctors.”

After failing to secure sponsorship, Border Force officials confirmed that Djokovic would be removed from the country on a flight departing on Thursday, local time.

Djokovic’s lawyers are said to be appealing the decision to kick the star out of the country.

The Australian Open is set to begin on 17 January.

A version of this article originally appeared on NationalWorld.com