Despite receiving a vaccine exemption from Tennis Australia, the Border Force abruptly canceled the visa of the world’s top tennis player—Serbia’s Novak Djokovic—on Wednesday (Jan. 5) for entering the country while unvaccinated. He has spent multiple nights at a Melbourne detention center awaiting deportation.
In a powerful message to the world on Friday (Jan. 7), Djokovic’s father urged people to rise up and stand against mandatory COVID-19 vaccination.
“Shame on them. The whole free world together with Serbia should rise. This isn’t a battle for Serbia and Novak. It’s battle for seven or something billion people. For freedom of expression, free speech, freedom of behavior. Novak didn’t break any laws,” he said.
“They want to subdue us, they want us all on our knees. It won’t fly.”
Novak Djokovic Has Been Denied Entry Into Australia and is Now Being Deported
Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic has been denied entry into Australia after being detained for eight hours at the airport and having his visa cancelled by the federal government for failing to secure a “valid” medical exemption to enter the country while being unvaccinated.
“Mr Djokovic failed to provide appropriate evidence to meet the entry requirements to Australia, and his visa has been subsequently cancelled,” the Border Force said in a statement. Non-citizens “who have had their visa cancelled will be detained and removed from Australia.”
“It’s one rule for all under this Australian government,” said Health Minister Greg Hunt.
Djokovic was due to play in the Australian Open, after being exempted from COVID-19 vaccination rules.
Novak Djokovic Granted Medical Exemption From COVID-19 Vaccination to Defend Australian Open Tennis Title
Australians have responded with anger and skepticism to the news that the world’s top tennis player, Novak Djokovic, has been granted a medical exemption from COVID-19 vaccination to compete in this year’s Australian Open in Melbourne.
There had been uncertainty over Djokovic’s participation after players were told they would have to be fully vaccinated in order to participate or have a medical exemption granted by an independent panel of experts.
However, the vaccine exemption has sparked backlash in Australia. Deputy Victorian Liberal Leader David Southwick called the decision to allow Djokovic to play “a disgrace,” describing it as a “kick in the guts to every Victorian” who endured months of lockdowns and suffered personal setbacks during the pandemic.
Across Melbourne, one of the world’s most locked-down cities in 2021, tennis fans took to social media posting calls for an Australian Open “boycott.”
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison even threatened to deport Djokovic if his vaccine exemption is “insufficient.”