DJOKOVIC’S ARRIVAL DRAMA: Officials hold Novak over paperwork
Wednesday - 05/01/2022 11:52
Novak Djokovic has landed in Australia but he has been stopped upon entry as questions were asked about whether he had the right documentation around his medical exemption.
Novak Djokovic has landed in Australia but faced an extraordinary drama at Tullamarine Airport threatening to end his grand slam hopes.
The world number one touched down on a Emirates flight from Dubai into Melbourne shortly after 11pm Wednesday night AEST.
A federal government source told The Age there were issues regarding the documentation required to prove the reason for Djokovic’s exemption, which is required from unvaccinated people. Djokovic is believed to be relying on the fact that he has had Covid within the past six months however the source said it was unclear if that was sufficient to secure entry under federal guidelines.
Earlier the Victorian Government tweeted saying it was rejecting Djokovic’s entry because he was on a work visa which requires the support of the state government.
Acting Sports and Major Events Minister Jaala Pulford tweeted at 11.14pm that the Victorian Government would not support Djokovic’s application.
“The Federal Government has asked if we will support Novak Djokovic’s visa application to enter Australia,” she said.
“We will not be providing Novak Djokovic with individual visa application support to participate in the 2022 Australian Open Grand Slam.
“We’ve always been clear on two points: visa approvals are a matter for the Federal Government, and medical exemptions a matter for doctors.”
However a Border Force official reportedly denied the Victorian Government’s claim that he was being held up because of a visa issue.
“ABF did not request Victorian government support a visa. ABF reached [out] to the Victorian government to validate their public statements about their support for his entry, and whether Victoria had further information related to his medical exemption documentation,” she told The Age.
Border Force officials have the discretion to allow Djokovic into the country in spite of the Victorian government move however his fate is still unclear.
A government source told the Herald Sun “they may have to send him or put him in immigration detention.”