'No special rules for Novak Djokovic', says Australian Prime Minister
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Novak Djokovic has been told his Australian visa has been rejected and he will be required to fly back out of the country on Thursday. The Serbian had been held at the airport in Melbourne overnight amid reports that there was an error had been spotted in his visa application.
The Age and Sydney Morning Herald have confirmed Djokovic’s lawyers want to challenge the decision. But it looks increasingly unlikely he will play the Australian Open which begins January 17.
As well as the apparently incorrect application, there were thought to be concerns around the evidence that supported Djokovic’s vaccine exemption.
The world No 1 said he had been granted an exemption to play the Australian Open and landed into Melbourne after 11pm on Wednesday night.
The Victorian state’s government said it had rejected a request from the federal government to support Djokovic’s visa application.
The state’s acting sports minister Jaala Pulford, the state’s acting sports minister said on Twitter: “We will not be providing Novak Djokovic with individual visa application support to participate in the 2022 Australian Open Grand Slam.
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“We’ve always been clear on two points: visa approvals are a matter for the federal government, and medical exemptions are a matter for doctors.”
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison had earlier told journalists: “We await his presentation and what evidence he provides us to support that.
“If that evidence is insufficient, then he won’t be treated any different to anyone else and he’ll be on the next plane home. There should be no special rules for Novak Djokovic at all. None whatsoever.”
The Age report that the 20-time Grand Slam winner was being quizzed by officials from the Australian Border Force in a room until at least 5am.
The player’s father Srdjan was reported to have told Russian news agency Sputnik: “I have no idea what is happening, they are holding my son in captivity for five hours.
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“This is a fight for the liberal world, this is not just a fight for Novak, but a fight for the whole world.”
The report adds that a federal government source says there were question marks about Djokovic’s documentation.
It was unclear whether the reigning Australian Open champion had the paperwork to prove the reason for his exemption, which is required at the border to pass through passport control for those not jabbed.
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