Tennis player Novak Djokovic was retained after arriving in Australia on Wednesday (5). According to Australian media, the problem was an error in his visa. The player arrived in the country amid turmoil over the status of his vaccination against Kovid-19.
Djokovic, who won nine titles at Melbourne Park, confirmed on Tuesday (4) that he has received a vaccination waiver to allow him to bid for a 21st title, a huge record at the Australian Open, which begins on January 17.
The announcement sparked outrage in the city of Melbourne. The state capital of Vitoria faced the longest cumulative blockade in the world during the pandemic. Recently, the outbreak of the micron variant has pushed the number of cases at the scene to record levels.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison had already suggested that Djokovic’s involvement had not stopped and that there would be “no specific rules” regarding his exemption. “If this evidence is insufficient, he will be treated no differently and will be on the next plane,” Morrison told a news conference at the time.
Tennis Australia and government officials acted swiftly to emphasize that Djokovic, who said he was opposed to COVID-19 vaccination, did not receive preferential treatment.
Organizers of Tennis Australia have determined that everyone in Melbourne Park should be vaccinated or given a medical exemption by an independent panel of experts.
With the exemption, Djokovic would not need to quarantine and would have the same kind of freedom in Melbourne, which has been vaccinated.
Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tilly said the independent panel included practitioners from the fields of immunology, infectious diseases and general practice. In this case, all exemptions meet the conditions set by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization.
“We fully understand and sympathize with those who are upset that Novak has come through over the past two years because of his statements about vaccination,” he told reporters.