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#pounditSunday, February 5, 2023

Australia cancels Novak Djokovic visa despite vaccine exemption from Aussie Open

Novak Djokovic holding a racket

Officials in Australia are superseding tennis officials regarding Novak Djokovic.

The No. 1 player in the world, Djokovic, has been against vaccine mandates and is believed to not have received the COVID-19 vaccine. Australia has some of the harshest COVID restrictions in the world. For months, there were questions about whether unvaccinated players, such as Djokovic, would be allowed to compete in the Australian Open.

On Tuesday, Djokovic shared some big news regarding the matter. He announced on Instagram that he was heading to Australia after receiving a medical exemption from the Australian Open.

While all looked rosy for a day, things quickly changed.

Australian Border Force would not allow Djokovic into the country upon his arrival at the airport. He was detained and his visa was canceled.

He reportedly was expected to fly back to Europe not long after his arrival in Australia.

Djokovic’s application was one of a handful of medical exemptions that the Australian Open granted among 26 applications from players and their support staff, according to the AAP. It’s unclear if any others who received exemptions from the tournament also had their visas canceled.

Some suspect that public pressure played a role in Australia’s government stepping in and denying Djokovic.

“There should be no special rules for Novak Djokovic at all. None whatsoever,” the country’s prime minster said.

Djokovic, 34, is tied for the record with 20 career grand slam wins. The Australian Open, which he’s won nine times, is his best major by far. The reversal from Australian officials is denying Djokovic the opportunity to potentially set the record for most majors won by a men’s singles player.

Photo: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

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