Thu. Jan 20th, 2022

Novak Djokovic, world number one, may have experienced a late issue during his trip to play in the Australian Open, after government officials refused to support his visa application.

Victoria’s acting sports minister, Jaala Pulford, said late Wednesday that her state had rejected a request for help and visa approvals were a matter for the federal government.

The Age newspaper said the federal border force had contacted the Victoria state government and asked if it would support its application after Djokovic’s team applied for the wrong kind of visa.

The nine-time Australian Open champion apparently landed in Melbourne late Wednesday.

“The federal government has asked if we support Novak Djokovic’s visa application to enter Australia,” Pulford said in a Twitter message.

“We will not provide Novak Djokovic with individual support for visa applications to take part in the 2022 Australian Open Grand Slam.

“We have always been clear on two points: visa approval is a matter for the Federal Government, and medical exemptions are a matter for doctors,” Pulford wrote.

Australian media reported that Djokovic wanted to enter the country on a work visa that “believed required the support of the Victorian government”.

It was not clear whether the federal government would allow his entry. The Border Force could not be reached for comment.

‘Next plane home’

The Age said Djokovic would likely be admitted from his plane and into Melbourne, but the problem delayed his access.

Australians reacted with anger on hearing that vaccine-skeptical Djokovic received a medical release to have a COVID-19 vaccine to play at this month’s Open.

All participants in the first Grand Slam of 2022, which starts on January 17, must be vaccinated against COVID-19 or have a medical exemption, which is only granted after judging by two panels of independent experts.

Djokovic announced late on Tuesday he was on his way to Melbourne with “a release permit”, which ended the protracted saga over whether he would defend his title.

Tennis Australia and the Victorian state government said Djokovic was one of a handful of successful applicants among 26 people who sought vaccination exemptions but received no special treatment in the anonymous application process.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has already suggested that Djokovic’s participation is not a foregone conclusion and that he should satisfy the federal government, which is responsible for international borders and visas and was not part of the exemption process.

“We are awaiting his presentation and what evidence he provides to us to support it,” Morrison told a news conference after chairing a meeting of state leaders on dealing with record levels of COVID infections in the country.

Morrison said that if the reasons for Djokovic’s release were “inadequate”, the Serb would be “on the next plane home”.

“There should be no special rules for Novak Djokovic at all. Nothing at all, “he said at a news conference.

Australia’s Home Secretary Karen Andrews has warned that anyone entering the country must meet strict border requirements.

“While the Victorian government and Tennis can allow Australia a non-interested player to take part in the Australian Open, it is the Commonwealth Government that will enforce our requirements at the Australian border,” she said in a statement.

“No individual participating in the Australian Open will be given any special treatment.”

Explanation will be ‘useful’

With the granted medical release, Djokovic will not be forced to go into quarantine and will enjoy the same freedoms in Melbourne as someone who has been vaccinated.

Tournament chief Craig Tiley said the defending champion was given “no special favor” but urged him to reveal why he was given the exemption to quell public anger.

Tiley said the independent panel that granted the exemption consisted of doctors from the fields of immunology, infectious diseases and general practice and all exemptions complied with the conditions set out by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization.

“We fully understand and empathize with … people who are upset about Novak coming in because of his statements over the past few years about vaccination,” he told reporters.

“It would certainly be helpful if Novak explained the conditions in which he sought an release … but ultimately it’s up to him,” he said.

To play, Djokovic will have the chance to face Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer, who also has 20 Grand Slam crowns.

Source link

By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *