Novak Djokovic denied entry into Australia after visa cancelled

Reigning Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic has been refused entry to the country due to a visa blunder.

Djokovic is due to be deported from Australia on Thursday, but his lawyers are set to file a federal injunction to challenge the decision.

A statement from the Department of Home Affairs’ Australian Border Force read: “The Australian Border Force will continue to ensure that those who arrive at our border comply with our laws and entry requirements.

“The ABF can confirm that Mr Djokovic failed to provide appropriate evidence to meet the entry requirements to Australia, and his visa has been subsequently cancelled.

“Non-citizens who do not hold a valid visa on entry or who have had their visa cancelled will be detained and removed from Australia.”

Djokovic touched down at Melbourne’s Tullamarine airport on Wednesday at about 11.30pm local time after a 14-hour flight from Dubai.

But he was still awaiting permission to enter the country to play in the Australian Open after it emerged that his team had applied for a visa that did not allow for medical exemptions.

That prompted the local government of Victoria, the state where the Open is played, to say it would not support Djokovic’s application, putting his fate in the hands of the federal government and Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison said there would be no special rules for Djokovic.

The world number one was questioned by the ABF for more than six hours after his arrival.

Prior to the decision, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said the country had offered its support to Djokovic.

“I told our Novak that the whole of Serbia is with him and that our bodies are doing everything to see that the harassment of the world’s best tennis player is brought to an end immediately,” Mr Vucic said in a statement this evening.

All participants at the first grand slam of 2022, which starts on 17 January, must be vaccinated against Covid-19 or have a medical exemption, which is granted only after assessment by two panels of independent experts.

Djokovic announced on Tuesday that he was en route to Melbourne with “an exemption permission”, seemingly ending the drawn-out saga over whether he would defend his title.

However, the Australian PM said that if the reasons for Djokovic’s exemption were “insufficient” then the Serb would be “on the next plane home”.

“There should be no special rules for Novak Djokovic at all. None whatsoever,” Morrison told a news conference.

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