Djokovic denied access into Australia

Will-he, Won’t-he? Turns out he won’t!

After joyfully (if not a little tone-deafly) announcing he would be coming to Australia to defend his title and look for a record 10th title, Novak Djokovic has been denied his access into Australia.

What happened

Djokovic posted a beaming picture of himself at the airport bound for Australia and while he was in the air, frustrated Australians and in particular Melbournians who have endured the strictest and endless rounds of lockdowns vented their fury that he should be granted an exemption at all.

Then, the twist!

Australian Border Force officials reached out to Victoria state government to inform them that the visa Djokovic was using did not permit him to enter the country with a medical exemption.

Surely the Victorian government, who had partnered with Tennis Australia to run the whole shebang, would step in and help the champion out?

Well… no. Acting Victorian Sports Minister Jaala Pulford confirmed that the request to them to support Djokovic’s entry was rejected. They separated themselves from the procedure, claiming that the exemption has nothing to do with them, and that is granted by the reviewing board.

Now, the Border Force did have the discretion to allow him on and interviewed him on his own in a holding room for over five hours with his father claiming he would want to start fighting them in the streets to release his son, and even the president of Serbia getting involved!

All to no avail though, and Djokovic’s lawyers are appealing the decision.


The finger pointing starts

The move is being seen in some quarters as a reaction to the anger surrounding the exemption in the first place, with a handful of other players having also been granted a medical exemption.

However, it would appear the majority of those were recent Covid-19 cases which had prevented vaccination in the last six months.

There have been numerous calls for Djokovic to be more forthcoming about his vaccination status of the reason behind the medical exemption. Of the acute reasons why someone might request an exemption was that they might have contracted Covid-19 in the last six months and thus could not get vaccinated – and we know that people can contract it multiple times.

Tennis Australia had even been advised that recent infections did not meet the criteria, several months ago. Indeed, a handful of players had received medical exemptions and now their cases are being investigated.

What now?

Djokovic has now been taken to a quarantine hotel and the federal judge looking to make a ruling on the case, Anthony Kelly, has seemed to be sympathetic enough to ask if there are any training facilities for him to use.

Perhaps even more hilariously, Tennis Australia has insisted that a decision is made soon for scheduling purposes!

Latest Bookmaker Prices

Needless to say Daniil Medvedev remains a favourite to scoop the title, with the odds starting to shorten now on Alexander Zverev, and Nadal, who could now have a pathway to that all important 21st Slam title.