Tennis Star Detained at Melbourne Airport Over VAX Status

Novak Djokovic’s visa has been canceled and he may be ordered to leave Australia a day after he arrived for the Australia Open.

QUICK FACTS:
  • World renown tennis player Novak Djokovic was detained at the Melbourne airport Wednesday when the state of Victoria, where Melbourne is located, said his medical exemption was not allowed and his visa was subsequently denied.
  • His father, Srdjan Djokovic, was outraged by the incident and called for supporters to take the streets if his son was not let free.
  • “I have no clue what’s going on. They’ve kept my son in captivity for five hours now,” Srdjan said. “If they don’t let him go in half an hour, we’ll gather in the streets, this is a battle for everyone.”
  • Tensions in the player’s home country of Serbia and Australia have since escalated, as Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic has now spoken out over the ordeal.
  • “I told our Novak that the whole country of Serbia is with him and that our bodies are doing everything to see that the harassment of the world’s best tennis player is brought to an end immediately,” Vucic said.
  • Breitbart reported Djokovic has been confined to an immigration detention hotel in Australia as he waits for a court ruling on whether or not he can compete in the Australian Open later this month.
AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER SCOTT MORRISON HAS OPPOSING VIEWS:

“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.”

BACKGROUND:
  • Djokovic’s denied visa comes just a few days after he announced in a social media post that he had received medical exemption to enter the country.
  • Australian Open organizers released a statement after the announcement, with two panels of experts reviewing the evidence and the application being finalized by the Independent Medical Exemption Review Panel.
  • According to the Australian Technical Advisory Group, permissible reasons for a medical exemption range from those suffering acute major medical conditions, to any serious adverse event attributed to a previous dose of a vaccine. For those who have recently tested positive for COVID, vaccination can also be deferred until six months after infection. 
  • Djokovic, who is currently tied for the all-time lead in Grand Slam tournament wins, could possibly spend several days in immigration detention.