Novak Djokovic was stranded at an Australian airport on Wednesday as authorities tried to work out a visa issue for his upcoming COVID-19 vaccine exemption for the upcoming Australian Open. Reuters reported.. The news comes amid controversy over the decision to grant top-ranked men’s tennis players a medical exemption from entering the tournament.
On Tuesday, DjokovicThat he was given a medical exemption for the Open – a decision that sparked a backlash in Australia. Djokovic has not publicly said whether he has been vaccinated.
Tournament officials said in a statement that they were given a medical exemption following a “rigorous review process” involving two separate independent panels of specialists, including doctors in immunology, infectious disease and general practice.
But when Djokovic arrived in Australia on Wednesday, authorities realized that his team had applied for a visa that did not allow for vaccine exemptions, Reuters reported. Acting Victoria’s sports minister – who hosts the Open – said the state would not support Djokovic’s visa application and that the federal government had been postponed to decide whether to allow the tennis star into the country. ۔
According to Reuters, Djokovic’s ability to enter the country is now in the hands of Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Earlier on Wednesday, Morrison said Djokovic needed to “provide credible evidence that he could not be vaccinated for medical reasons” before entering the country.
“If this evidence is insufficient, then he will not be discriminated against and he will go home on the next ship,” Morrison said at the time. He has not commented publicly since the confusion at the airport.
While some fellow tennis players welcomed Djokovic’s return to the Australian Open, the top-ranked women’s tennis player and Australian Ashley Barty said she understood why people were “disappointed” with the decision to allow her to play.
Craig Tiley, director of the Australian Open, said players, fans and staff at the tournament should be fully vaccinated unless there is a reason for a waiver.
The backlash against Djokovic’s immunity came as residents of the country have taken drastic measures against COVID. In Melbourne, people have spent more than 260 days in lockdown since the onset of the epidemic. BBC
Djokovic has nine Australian Open titles and has won the last three. With another victory in Australia, he could break the three-way tie with tennis great Roger Federer.Most Grand Slam singles titles with a record 21st victory.