The Australian Border Force has denied entry into the country to Novak Djokovic, jeopardizing the defending champion’s quest for a 10th Australian Open title.
Djokovic applied for a medical exemption to Australia’s vaccination requirement. His application was granted by Victorian state officials, who acted independently of national officials.
Djokovic files injunction to prevent removal
Australian border officials said that Djokovic failed to meet their entry requirements, however. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison doubled down on earlier comments, saying that Djokovic would receive no special treatment because of his celebrity.
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.
— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) January 5, 2022
“Mr. Djokovic’s visa has been cancelled,” Morrison wrote on Twitter. “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.”
Reuters reported that Australian officials would remove Djokovic from the country on Thursday, citing sources close to the Australian Open. The same source also said that Djokovic would file an injunction in an attempt to prevent his removal.
Serbian president Alexsandar Vucic posted on social media in support of Djokovic.
“I told our Novak that the whole of Serbia is with him and that our bodies are doing everything to see the harassment of the world’s best tennis player is brought to an end immediately,” Vucic wrote on Instagram. “In line with all norms of international law, Serbia will fight for Novak, truth and justice.”
The Australian Open begins on Jan. 17. That means Djokovic will need to settle his case in his favor by that day if he hopes to compete for another Grand Slam title in Melbourne.
On the news, Daniil Medvedev took over as a slight favorite to win the Australian Open this year. FanDuel Sportsbook now lists Medvedev as the +135 pick, with Djokovic just behind at +145. Alexander Zverev rates as the +240 third choice.
Djokovic is seeking a record 21st Grand Slam title, which would end his tie for the all-time lead with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.