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Novak Djokovic's entry into Australia delayed over faulty visa

Novak Djokovic's passage into Australia isn't turning out to be smooth after issues were found with his visa and he is apparently still stuck at the Melbourne airport.

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic (Source: Getty)


The Bridge Desk

Published: 5 Jan 2022 2:24 PM GMT

If there wasn't enough hullabaloo around Novak Djokovic traveling to Australia already, the arrival of the World No. 1 tennis player to the continent Down Under has escalated in drama again after Novak Djokovic's late-night visa appeal was rejected by the Victorian government owing to issues with it. The 20-time Grand Slam champion announced yesterday that he will be going to Melbourne to play in the season's first Grand Slam where he will be on the prowl of his 21st Grand Slam, after receiving an "exemption permission" from the Tennis Australia authorities.

According to The Age and The Herald, Novak Djokovic's team had sent in a visa that does not permit medical exemptions for being unvaccinated and therefore does not fit the bill for Novak Djokovic who is traveling (in all probability) unvaccinated and with a medical exemption. The Australian Border Force, upon finding a flaw with the visa submitted immediately notified the Victorian authorities, long before Novak Djokovic's flight landed at Tullamarine in the night.

Hoping for a visa clearance, the Border Force contacted the federal agency as well and sought the help of the Andrew's government as the Victoria government partners with Tennis Australia, which is in charge of the hard court Grand Slam due to start from 17th January 2022. However, Djokovic's exemption hasn't been seen in the most welcome of lights and it has clearly left many officials, citizens and countless tennis fans feeling really displeased with the course of events that they are having to witness - which explains why the Victorian officials have denied the request of the federal agencies to back the visa application of Novak Djokovic that would facilitate his entry.

Even if the Victorian officials do not comply, the Border Force has the power to allow Novak Djokovic in Melbourne. The acting Sports Minister Jaala Pulford sent a late-night tweet confirming that the Victorian government would not be supporting Novak Djokovic's visa application, as well, to wash hands off the ongoing matters with the Serb.

"The federal government has asked if we will support Novak Djokovic's visa application to enter Australia. We will not be providing Novak Djokovic with individual visa application support to participate in the 2022 Australian Open Grand Slam," the tweet said.

The Sports Minister went on to say: "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."

Novak Djokovic's vaccination exemption decision has been met with a lot of widespread anger as the proper reasons for it haven't been disclosed. However, Djokovic isn't the only player to have apparently received the medical exemption and according to the sources of The Age, most exemptions center around the fact that the player or the official who had applied for it had been infected with coronavirus in the past six months and therefore is not vaccinated.

However, Djokovic has never been a supporter of vaccination and has the anti-vaxxer attitude that comes up every often which ends up influencing people otherwise and setting the wrong ideas, which is indeed the crux of the issue.

The Victorian government and Tennis Australia, given the amount of backlash they have been receiving, has also asked Novak Djokovic to clarify to the public why he was granted a medical exemption to enter the country without proving his vaccination status and bring clarity to the matter which otherwise hints at bias work on behalf of the Australian authorities to bring their marquee player.

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