The Australian Open might have given the controversial OK to unvaccinated tennis star Novak Djokovic, but the Victorian State Government in Australia has not proved quite as accommodating.
Djokovic, the 20-time grand slam winner who received a medical exemption that would allow him to compete in the Grand Slam tournament later this month, was turned away at the Melbourne airport late last night due to a visa complication.
Australian news outlets are reporting that Djokovic applied for a type of visa that does not allow medical exemptions for being unvaccinated, causing the visa to be denied at the moment. Djokovic is currently being held at the Melbourne Airport in a room guarded by police without access to his cell phone.
Updated: Though the federal Border Forces have the ability to overrule the Victorian government’s ruling, the powers that be chose to let it stand. And after speaking with government officials today, Djokovic was told this afternoon that his visa has officially been denied and that he will be flown out of the country on Thursday. Melbourne’s The Age reports that Djokovic’s lawyers are challenging the decision.
The Australia Border Force released a statement explaining the decision to deny the world’s No. 1 player.
“[Novak Djokovic] failed to provide appropriate evidence to meet the entry requirements to Australia, and his visa has been subsequently cancelled.
“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.”
Victorian Legislative Council members Jaala Pulford tweeted the following:
The Australian Open, and event Djokovic has won a record nine times, including the last three tournaments, is set to get underway on January 17.
As this is a breaking news story, check back for more updates throughout the day.