- Djokovic rule in the hands of the Australian government
- He was trapped in an isolated room at the airport due to a visa issue
- The Serbian president says the country stands behind him
MELBOURNE, Jan 5 (Reuters) – Novak Djokovic was stranded at a Melbourne airport overnight amid international political maneuvering over whether Australia would honor the world’s No. 1 athlete. Medical Exemption Send him home from vaccination requirements or due to visa error.
Djokovic, who is looking for his 21st Grand Slam victory at the Australian Open, touched down at Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport at 11:30 pm local time on Wednesday after a 14 – hour flight from Dubai.
But he was waiting for permission to enter the country early Thursday morning after it was revealed that his group had applied for a visa that would not allow medical exemptions.
Sign up now for unlimited free access to Reuters.com
This prompted the local government of the Open-playing state of Victoria to say it would not support Djokovic’s application, leaving his fate in the hands of federal government and Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
The Australian government’s unusual move to prevent Djokovic from entering the country due to a mistake in the visa form has led to the threat of a diplomatic incident between Canberra and Belgrade.
“I ended my phone conversation with Novak Djokovic,” Serbian President Alexander Vuிக்i posted on Instagram. “I told our Novak that the whole of Serbia was with him and that our bodies were doing all they could to bring an immediate end to the harassment of the world’s greatest tennis player.
“Serbia Novak will fight for truth and justice in accordance with all the rules of international law. Novak is strong and we all know that.”
Serbian media have reported that Vucic summoned the Australian ambassador to Belgrade and demanded his immediate release to play Djokovic.
Djokovic’s father, Stradjan, said he was waiting alone in a room with armed guards at the airport for a final decision on whether his son could enter the country.
“I have no clue what’s going on. They have been holding my son captive for five hours now,” Srdjan told Sputnik’s Serbian online edition. If we do not let him go in half an hour, we will gather on the street, which is a struggle for everyone.
“Not a very regular trip from Down Under,” commented coach Koran Ivanisevic. An Instagram selfie From the airport lounge, with palms on the face and captivating emojis.
Morrison faced Great setback His government’s decision to exempt Djokovic from the vaccine to play in the Open led to a finger pointing between the prime minister’s conservative administration and the left – wing Victorian government led by Prime Minister Don Andrews.
Australia, particularly the state of Victoria, has the longest overall lockdown in the world and has sent explosive case numbers of the Omicron variant to record levels. read more
Following the setback, Morrison suggested that he should satisfy the federal government, which is responsible for international borders and visas, not Djokovic’s participation agreement. read more
Shortly before Djokovic’s arrival, Morrison said he had “no special rules” on his exemption.
“If that evidence is not enough, he will not be treated differently than anyone else and he will come home on the next flight,” Morrison said at an earlier press conference.
Djokovic arrived on an Emirates flight, but border officials contacted the Victorian government to ask if the government would formally support the world number one visa, but it said no.
“The federal government has asked if we will support Novak Djokovic’s visa application to enter Australia,” said Jala Bulford, Victoria’s acting sports minister.
“We will not grant personal visa application support to Novak Djokovic to compete in the 2022 Australian Open Grand Slam.
“We’ve always been clear on two things: visa permits are a federal thing, and medical exemptions are a matter for doctors.”
It is unclear whether the federal government will allow his entry. The Border Force did not respond to a request for comment.
Tennis Australia and government officials moved quickly to insist that Djokovic was not given the treatment of his choice.
The Serbian, who has previously refused to disclose his vaccine status, has won nine titles, including the last three at Melbourne Park. He confirmed on Tuesday that he had been vaccinated to be allowed to play in the Australian Open, which starts on January 17.
Australian tennis legend Rod Laver, who has been named to the main showcase at Melbourne Park in the state of Victoria, has warned that Djokovic could face hostility from the local crowd.
“I think it’s going to be ugly,” he told the Lower News Corp. “I think Victorian people will think, ‘Yes, I want to see him play and compete, but at the same time there is a right way and a wrong way.’
“Yes, you’re a great player, you’ve won many matches, so it can not be physical. So what’s the problem?”
“It’s a shame,” said Christine Warden, a Melbourne local.
“We’ve all done the right thing, we’ve all gone out and got our jabs and our boosters, and we have someone from overseas who can suddenly exclude him and play, I think it’s a complete. Shame and I will not see it.”
Sign up now for unlimited free access to Reuters.com
Sudipto Ganguly’s statement in Mumbai; Additional Report by Nick Mulwenny and John Myrne; Editing by Peter Rutherford, Alison Williams and Hugh Lawson
Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
. “Professional creator. Subtly charming web advocate. Unapologetic problem solver. Devoted student.”