06 Jan 2022 | 02:13 | Men's Tennis
A real oceanic intrigue: Novak Djokovic cannot be expelled from Australia until 4 pm next Monday, but it is not certain that everything will be resolved in time for his eventual participation in the Australian Open.
The tennis player (against whom his colleague Rafa Nadal also expressed himself, albeit diplomatically) had filed an appeal against the expulsion from Australia, obtaining a momentary suspension, before a judge from Melbourne, Anthony Kelly, examined the request in these hours. , postponing any decision until Monday afternoon.
The news comes after the wasp of controversy unleashed around the world by the medical exemption from the vaccine and the subsequent refusal of the oceanic government to admit him to the country and make him compete in the Australian Open.
“Rules are rules and there are no special cases – thundered Scott Morrison, Australian Prime Minister – entry with a visa requires a double vaccination or medical exemption.
I am informed that this exemption was not in force and consequently he is subject to the same rule as anyone else: I also want to emphasize that in the end it is the responsibility of the traveler “.
Political stances have been chasing each other for hours, from the prime minister (“Provide vaccine evidence or go home”) to Serbian president Aleksandar Vučić, who got in touch with the Serbian tennis player, assuring him that “Serbia is he will fight for him, for justice and truth “.
According to reports from the Australian newspaper ” The Age” , the number 1 tennis player in the world had arrived at Tullamarine international airport in Melbourne (at 11.30pm local time, 1.30pm in Italy), but was stopped and questioned for hours by officials from the Border Force, the border police, being effectively stuck in the airport waiting room.
The reason? Not his medical certificate that exempts him from vaccination (mandatory for all athletes, and not only, at the Australian Open), but because of … the visa! A visa that would not bring back – the conditional is a must – the medical exemption from the vaccine for the 34-year-old Serbian tennis player.
A request, in extremis, for a new visa would have been made by Djokovic’s staff, hours before the arrival of the tennis player’s plane in Melbourne, but the request had been rejected in the evening by the government of the State of Victoria (of which Melbourne is the capital).
A surreal situation, in the style of “The Terminal”, the famous film with Tom Hanks: Djokovic wandering around the airport waiting for a visa.
This seems, clearly, a “diplomatic” excuse to avoid the inconvenient Serbian champion from entering the country.
From the border, in the meantime, they contacted the government of the State of Victoria and the response of the Minister of Sport, Jaala Pulford, was clear and round: “The Federal Government has asked us if we will support Novak Djokovic for the visa application to enter Australia. : we will not provide individual support for applying for a visa to participate in the Australian Open 2022 “.