As the Novak Djokovic visa issue drags on, Tennis Australia issues a statement.
TENNIS AUSTRALIA has issued a statement following the release of leaked documents revealing that the governing body was aware of medical exemption rules but miscommunicated them to players such as Novak Djokovic.
Tennis Australia has responded to reports that the governing body incorrectly advised players that if they had recently recovered from Covid-19, they could enter the country unvaccinated.
When Novak Djokovic arrived in Melbourne on Wednesday with a medical exemption, his visa was revoked, and two more people associated with the tournament who used the same exemption had their visas revoked as well.
Djokovic said he was flying to Australia after receiving “exemption permission” on Tuesday, with Tennis Australia later confirming the nine-time Australian Open champion “applied for a medical exemption, which was granted following a rigorous review process involving two separate independent panels of medical experts.”
However, border officials discovered an “issue” with the world No. 1’s visa while he was in the air, and Djokovic was taken to an airport room for overnight questioning after arriving late on Wednesday and failing to provide sufficient evidence for his medical exemption to both border officials and the Victorian government.
The 34-year-old was reportedly trying to enter the country on the grounds that he had recovered from a Covid-19 infection in the previous six months, but Australian Border Force turned him down.
“The ABF can confirm that Mr Djokovic failed to provide appropriate evidence to meet the entry requirements to Australia, and his visa has been subsequently cancelled,” border officials said on Thursday morning.
Non-citizens who enter Australia without a valid visa or who have had their visa cancelled will be detained and removed.”
Djokovic’s lawyers filed an appeal, and the Serb was granted permission to remain in a Melbourne detention hotel until the hearing resumes on Monday, after the court was adjourned on Thursday evening.
Following an investigation on Thursday, two more people connected to the tournament were discovered in Australia under the same exemption – one official and one player.
The unnamed official left the country, while Renata Voracova, the world No. 81 in doubles, was taken to the same hotel as Djokovic but has since decided to leave the country. Voracova had already played a match at an Australian Open warm-up tournament on Wednesday.
It was later discovered that government officials were involved.
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