Australia Cancels World No. 1 Novak Djokovic's Visa, Intends to Deport Him Thursday

© REUTERS / SUSANA VERASerbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates winning his match against Croatia's Marin Cilic
Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates winning his match against Croatia's Marin Cilic  - Sputnik International, 1920, 05.01.2022
The World's best tennis player's participation in the Australian Open has been a source of great speculation for months because he refused to confirm his COVID-19 vaccination status, but last week, Djokovic was exempted from the mandate by the tournament's management.
World number one tennis player Novak Djokovic has been denied entry to Australia over an issue with his visa, the country's Border Force (ABF) stated on Thursday.
On Wednesday, the player arrived in Melbourne, where authorities discovered an error on his application.

"The ABF can confirm that Mr. Djokovic failed to provide appropriate evidence to meet the entry requirements to Australia, and his visa has been subsequently cancelled," the statement reads. "Non-citizens who do not hold a valid visa on entry or who have had their visa cancelled will be detained and removed from Australia."

The agency added that the tennis player's phone was not confiscated during the events at the border control.
According to the local media, Djokovic will be flown out of the country later on Thursday, but his attorneys will appeal the decision. The tennis player had reportedly been interrogated for hours in a room at Melbourne Airport while his visa and exemption status were checked.
However, a follow-up report indicated that the tennis star was set to remain in Melbourne while awaiting the appeal, and is likely to be quarantined in a hotel.
His management allegedly had not applied for a visa that allows for medical exemptions due to not being vaccinated.
Austria's Dominic Thiem - Sputnik International, 1920, 04.01.2022
Top-Ranked Novak Djokovic Set to Defend Australian Open Crown After COVID-19 Vaccine Exemption
At the moment, it remains unclear whether Djokovic will stay in Australia as his attorneys try to get the ruling overturned.
Djokovic has not spoken out about his own vaccination status, although last year he indicated he was "opposed to vaccination".
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison commented on the border authorities' decision, noting that “rules are rules,” and no one can be “above” them.
Earlier, despite Djokovic receiving an exemption from the general rule, the country's authorities, namely Morrison had previously stated that Djokovic would be denied entrance unless he could show proof that he was unable to be vaccinated due to medical reasons.
The COVID-19 pandemic is currently on the rise in Australia with tens of thousands of newly registered cases every day despite some of the world's harshest restrictions.
The Australian Open is expected to start in Melbourne on January 17.
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