Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic awaits in Melbourne a decision by Australian authorities to stay in the country without a Covid-19 vaccination, after it was reported that he may have lied on his entry statement.
The world number one finished his second training session on Tuesday ahead of the Australian Open, which takes place from January 14, as Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke confirmed he was considering canceling the tennis player’s visa.
The Balkans will compete at the Rod Laver Arena, a stage in which he has lifted as many as nine Grand Slam titles, along with coach Goran Ivanisevic, according to aerial photos broadcast by ABC Public Channel today.
The Serbian tennis player’s goal is to win the Australian Open and reach his twenty-first major tournament, defeating his main rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Djokovic arrived in Melbourne last Wednesday with a medical exemption to be vaccinated for covid-19 in December, but customs officials denied him a visa and he was detained in a hotel while his lawyers lodged an appeal.
An Australian court on Monday upheld Djokovic, 34, and allowed him to enter the country, but there is still a chance of him being expelled from the country.
Investigation of possible lying
According to Australian media, the authorities are investigating whether the tennis player lied when entering Australia when he claimed that he had not visited any third country in the past two weeks, which could lead to the revocation of his visa again.
The number one in the world was training at a facility in Sotogrande (Cádiz), according to his social networks, and traveled from Malaga to Australia, according to the head of the Serbian Olympic Committee, Borizader Malikovic.
The tennis player, who traveled on January 4 with a layover in Dubai, may have spent Christmas in Belgrade, according to some photos on social networks.
The situation surrounding the world’s best tennis player has caused a diplomatic row between Australia and Serbia, with Djokovic’s relatives saying he was “tortured” during his detention in a Melbourne hotel.
In a phone conversation, Serbian Prime Minister Aan Brnabic asked her Australian counterpart, Scott Morrison, for fair treatment and respect for Djokovic’s rights, as well as a direct exchange of information in the coming days.
According to a statement, Barnabic stressed the importance of the tennis player’s training conditions and physical preparations for the tournament, which he has been denied in recent days.
“Brnabic asked his Australian counterpart to do everything in his power to ensure that Djokovic is treated humanely and with dignity in Australia for the duration of his stay,” the memo said.
According to the Australian Prime Minister’s Office, Morrison explained to Brnabich the restrictions on entry to the peripheral country imposed to combat the pandemic, among which the full schedule of a covid-19 vaccine is required, although there are exceptions.
In a dialogue described as “constructive,” Morrison assured his counterpart that these restrictions are not discriminatory and have served to protect the nation during the pandemic.
ATP Defends Vaccines
For its part, the ATP today highlighted its firm support for COVID-19 vaccination, while asking Australia to improve communication to avoid misunderstandings.
“The ATP continues to strongly recommend the vaccination of all Tour players, something we believe is essential for our sport in times of a pandemic. This is based on scientific evidence and has health benefits,” the ATP explained in a statement.
The authority said it understood the “sacrifices” made by Australians and the immigration policies imposed by the pandemic, but added that “the complexities faced by the player on arrival underlined the need for clearer understanding, communication and enforcement of the rules”.
The ATP said the incident affected all fronts, “including Novak’s well-being and preparation for the Australian Open”.
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