Serbian entry denied: Tennis star Djokovic takes legal action against visa withdrawal

© Dave Hunt / AAP / dpa

Most likely unvaccinated Novak Djokovic should take part in the tennis tournament on a special permit. In Melbourne, however, his visa was deemed invalid.

Soon after landing in Melbourne, the farce of tennis star Novak Djokovic took a surprising turn. Despite his controversial medical exemption to start the Australian Open, border guards refused entry to the Serb who may not have been vaccinated because his visa was clearly invalid.

A few hours later, the Australian government revoked Djokovic’s visa, the Australian News Agency reported, Wednesday evening. The No. 1 tennis player has been informed that he will now have to leave Australia on Thursday.

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The Australian Border Force issued a statement early Thursday (local time) stating that Djokovic had failed to provide sufficient evidence of compliance and that “the visa was subsequently revoked”. However, Australian media reported that Djokovic’s team had applied for the wrong visa.

The Serbian tennis star is now struggling with his last-minute deportation. Lawyers for the world number one are challenging the visa revocation in a Melbourne court Thursday afternoon, Australian news portal The Edge reported. Accordingly, they were still looking for documents and Judge Anthony Kelly should hear them during the day.

Djokovic traveled with controversial medical exemption

Djokovic traveled to Australia with a highly controversial medical exemption and landed in Melbourne late on Wednesday night (local time) for the Australian Open. The tournament starts on January 17th. However, Australian Border Protection authorities denied him regular entry – instead, the 34-year-old was brought to a hotel for those they had to leave the country. Djokovic should start his trip home on Thursday.

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“Novak Djokovic’s visa has been revoked,” Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt confirmed Thursday morning (local time). A statement from the Border Protection Authority said Djokovic was unable to prove he had met the entry requirements, so “the visa was subsequently cancelled.”

On Tuesday, after weeks of silence, Djokovic announced that he would be traveling to Australia thanks to a special permit. He has not yet announced his vaccination status. If vaccinated, he will not need a special permit.

Djokovic has already won the Australian Open nine times and was determined to compete this time as the defending champion. If he had won, he would have left rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal behind with his 21st Grand Slam win.

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