Tennis superstar Novak Djokovic’s bid to play in the Australian Open—with a medical exemption to get around vaccination rules—was thrown into jeopardy on Wednesday amid a bureaucratic firefight over his entry at the country’s border.
Just 24 hours earlier, Djokovic tweeted that he had been granted an exemption enabling him to play in the tournament. Organizers indicated that the tournament had signed off in coordination with Victoria health authorities, both of whom had previously insisted that any participant needed to be vaccinated.
The men’s world No. 1, who has said he didn’t want to be vaccinated, touched down only to discover that while Tennis Australia and local authorities had given him the green light, the Australian border authority required further documentation.
“Any individual seeking to enter Australia must comply with our strict border requirements,” Australia’s Home Affairs minister Karen Andrews said. “While the Victorian government and Tennis Australia may permit a non-vaccinated player to compete in the Australian Open, it is the Commonwealth government that will enforce our requirements at the Australian border.”
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