The first racket of the world, Novak Djokovic, was never allowed to enter Australia, he was kept for several hours at the airport, while the entire tennis team was able to cross the border without any problems. And at night in Moscow, the Australian authorities officially announced that the visa had been canceled. However, Djokovic went to court, which left him in Melbourne until Monday, when the fate of his participation in the Grand Slam tournament will be decided. This whole story caused a real scandal, which has already become diplomatic.
When Novak Djokovic announced that he had received a medical exemption from vaccinations and was traveling to Australia for his favorite Grand Slam tournament, it was puzzling. Tour’s chief anti-waxer refused to disclose his vaccination status and did not explain later on why he was granted a medical notice. Of course, it is everyone’s right to keep medical information with them. However, when it causes such a scandal, isn’t it worth confessing? As a result, Novak’s visa was canceled, he filed a lawsuit, which decided to keep him in Melbourne until Monday. Then the decision will be made.
At the moment, history made even the top officials of states speak out, and Novak’s father promised to take people to the streets. The tennis world, as usual, is divided. Here are the highlights of the main sports scandal of the year just begun.
Chronicle of events
Novak Djokovic, who announced that he had received a medical withdrawal from vaccinations and happily flew to Melbourne, arrived at the airport on Wednesday at 11:30 local time, but was not allowed to enter the border. He was kept in an isolated room for several hours because his visa was not issued correctly. According to the official statement of the authorities, there was no necessary justification for exemption from vaccination.
By 6 pm, the interrogation of Novak by the border guard officers was still not completed, the athlete’s phone was taken away and they were not allowed to communicate with the team, which passed the border without any problems. Former tennis player and Novak coach Goran Ivanisevic confirmed that they are all in shock and are really not allowed to talk. After six hours of interrogation, the tennis player’s phone was returned.
The head of Tennis Australia, Craig Tealey, even before Djokovic’s arrival, argued that receiving a medical clearance was legal, it was considered by a special two-stage commission, which did not know whose application it was considering.
Authorities in Victoria, where Melbourne is located, have refused to help Djokovic get a new visa because “visas are a matter for the federal authorities, and a medical withdrawal is a matter for doctors,” Victoria Employment Secretary Jala Pulford said .
Further, Australian border guards officially confirmed that “Mr. Djokovic did not provide the proper evidence required to enter Australia and his visa was subsequently revoked.”
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison explained the Border Guard’s decision: “Australia has sovereign borders and clear rules that are not discriminatory. This is due to the fair and reasonable application of Australia’s border protection laws. All I can say is that the provided justification for the medical rejection was found to be insufficient. Our strong border policies are critical to Australia. We continue to have one of the lowest death rates from coronavirus in the world, and we remain vigilant. “
Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt clarified by saying that the visa was canceled “after examining the medical withdrawal.” “The correctness of granting the exception and the evidence leading to his obtaining it were investigated. The evidence was not convincing enough. He can challenge the decision. But if the visa is invalid, then the person must leave the country. The rules are the same for everyone. Yes, they are tough, but fair, ”said Hunt.
Djokovic later sent a statement to the court, and the decision on the appeal was postponed until Monday, January 10. Djokovic is currently at the Park Hotel in Melbourne, where asylum seekers from other countries are usually held.
And fans of Novak gathered outside the hotel, protesting against his deportation.
Had to check out the scene myself at the Park Hotel where Djokovic is being detained and where his supporters have gathered to protest his impending deportation for being unvaccinated. #AusOpen pic.twitter.com/a2YnmlJOYG— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 6, 2022
Who can get a medical appeal?
Long before the start of the tennis season, Tennis Australia announced that only vaccinated players would be admitted to the tournament, and then they would be able to enter Victoria even without the 14-day quarantine, which all tennis players underwent last year. It was later reported that the tournament can also be entered if there is a medical exemption from vaccination. But it should be studied by a special advisory group, and the verification will be two-stage.
The criteria listed as acceptable reasons for exemption from vaccination are serious diseases (including heart disease) or serious consequences after the first dose of vaccine, as well as coronavirus transferred in the last six months.
Tennis Australia chief Craig Tealey said there were 26 similar applications, but “only a handful” were granted. Various sources stated that three more players with the same type of visa and exemption were admitted to the country. At the same time, according to Australian journalist Andrew Green, two of them can now also be expelled from the country: “Exceptions to people whose names are not named were issued without sufficient grounds. Their cases are now being investigated by the Australian Border Guard Service. ”
Why did Djokovic apply for a medical withdrawal?
This is the whole point of the problem. The reason Novak did this is unclear. He really did have a coronavirus, which he officially confirmed, but that was back in June 2020. That story, by the way, also turned out to be scandalous.
The tennis player, after the world had just begun to allow sports events, organized a series of exhibition tournaments in several Balkan cities, in one of which there was an outbreak of coronavirus. Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Chorich, Viktor Troitsky , as well as people who worked at the competitions were infected . Then Novak himself passed a positive test.
The Serb was then criticized for the fact that no antiquarian restrictions were observed during tournaments: people hugged, walked without masks, there was no social distance at press conferences, and so on. Other players wrote on social networks that they do not understand how this can happen during the most difficult period of the pandemic.
At the same time, the 20-time winner of Grand Slam tournaments has repeatedly spoken out against compulsory vaccination, and refused to talk about whether he will be vaccinated. Judging by the fact that he needed a medical outlet, Novak did not do this.
Only a few know the details of Djokovic’s application for a medical exception, but they have no right to disclose details – all medical information is confidential. The tennis player can do it himself, but he definitely does not want to.
Who stood up for Novak?
First of all, his father Srdjan . “I have no idea what’s going on. My son is being held hostage for six hours. I am fighting not only for Novak, but for the whole free world. If he is not released in two hours, I will take people out into the streets. We will fight for everyone’s freedom, ”he said.
He later called Novak the “Spartacus of the new world” and “the symbol and leader of freedom.” “My son is in Australian captivity, but he has never been a freer person. From that moment on, Novak is a symbol and leader of the free world, the world of poor and oppressed countries and peoples. They can imprison him, they can put him in chains, but truth is like water, it always finds its way.
Novak is the Spartacus of the new world, who does not tolerate injustice, colonialism and hypocrisy and fights for the equality of all people on the planet, regardless of their skin color, no matter what god they pray to and how much money they have. The wealthy world may not allow Novak to continue playing tennis. But they showed their true colors, ”he said.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic also spoke out. He stated that he spoke with the main tennis star of his country: “I told our Novak that all Serbia is with him and that our authorities are doing everything to immediately put an end to the persecution of the best tennis player in the world. In accordance with all norms of international law, Serbia will fight for Novak, truth and justice. “
Croatian Zenit footballer Dejan Lovren tweeted that he will now root for Djokovic even more: “I want Novak to win the 21st Grand Slam tournament. Hold on, Nole. “
What do the Australians themselves say?
Several Australian journalists have commented on this.
Andy Maher: “We have been pressured and restricted for two years. And then the guy gets relief, because he hits the ball beautifully. Is the presence of Novak so important for the country ”?
John Ralph: “Is this a joke? Nobody wants to take responsibility. It turns out that Novak wrote the exception to himself. We have been standing in lines since five in the morning and still end up in quarantine. And Djokovic turned everything into a farce. “
Bernie Cohen: “We cannot go to a neighboring city to visit dying relatives. And Novak flies from Europe without vaccination. “
Samantha Lewis: “Each of us has a duty to mock and boo Novak.”