Novak Djokovic denied entry into Australia over visa issue

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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.

According to Melbourne’s The Age, government sources believe that Djokovic is attempting to claim a COVID infection within the past six months for the exemption, which is allowed within the Australian Open exemption rules, but may not be sufficient for international entry.

The federal Australian Border Force can overrule the Victorian government’s denial of the visa if it so wishes, but given the national backlash over Djokovic’s medical exemption, it is unclear whether it will choose to move forward with that process.

Accounts from Victorian State Government officials suggest that the border forces may be in support of Djokovic’s entry, though an ABF spokesperson said in a statement that it had issued no such request to the Victorian government.

“ABF did not request Victorian government support a visa. ABF reached [out] to the Victorian government to validate their public statements about their support for his entry, and whether Victoria had further information related to his medical exemption documentation.”

If Djokovic is let in, all eyes will be on the Australian Open during the last two weeks of January (in all likelihood, with the majority of watchers desperately hoping for Djokovic’s ass to get handed to him).

The Australian Open is set to get underway on January 17.

As this is a breaking news story, check back for updates. 

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