Djokovic dealt Australian Open blow after government’s visa application refusal

Novak Djokovic’s bid to compete at the 2022 Australian Open hit a snag on Wednesday as the Victorian government said they would not support his application for a visa.

The government for the state of Victoria, where the first Grand Slam of the year is held annually, was contacted by Border Control in Australia regarding Djokovic's intended entry into the country but does not support his admission.

Only fully vaccinated players and those with medical exemptions against having the vaccine will be allowed to compete at the Australian Open.

The unvaccinated Djokovic was granted an exemption by tournament organisers to compete in Melbourne but he must also satisfy the requirements of local and national government in Australia.

Jaala Pulford, a member of the Labor Party in Victoria, tweeted on Wednesday: “The Federal Government has asked if we will support Novak Djokovic’s visa application to enter Australia.

“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 are a matter for doctors.”

To make matters worse for the world No 1, it is reported that the visa Djokovic has applied for is the wrong one.

Earlier on Wednesday, Australia's ABC News said that the Acting Australian Border Force Commissioner was examining an "issue" that had arisen with the Djokovic's Australian Travel Declaration for the Australian Open, now believed to be an incorrect visa application.

The world No 1 is said to have applied for a visa that does not permit medical exemptions for being unvaccinated, and is thought to have already landed in Melbourne.

Border Force has the discretion to allow Djokovic into the country in spite of the local government's stance.

The Serb took to Instagram on Tuesday to announce he had been granted an exemption and was due to fly out to Australia to play in the tournament.

That sparked anger from the Australian public, some of whom believe there is one rule for one and another for everybody else, while the likes of Australian emergency physician Dr Stephen Parnis said the Serb should state why he has been given a medical exemption.

“We see Novak Djokovic come in with exemptions despite actively undermining the case for vaccination around the world," he said.

“This sends a terrible message to our community as well as the worldwide population and he really needs to say wny he has been given his exemption.”

A similar view is held by Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who said: “Any individual seeking to enter Australia must comply with our border requirements.

"He (Djokovic) has to because if he's not vaccinated, he must provide acceptable proof that he cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons and to be able to access the same travel arrangements, as fully vaccinated travellers.

"So we await his presentation and what evidence he provides to support that. If that evidence is insufficient, then he won't be treated any different to anyone else and he'll be on the next plane home.

"There should be no special rules for Novak Djokovic at all, none whatsoever."

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