Novak Djokovic’s hopes of competing for his 21st grand slam singles title at the Australian Open this month is in danger of being crushed as he was held at an airport amid outcry over his controversial “medical exemption” from getting vaccinated agreed by the tournament’s organizers.
The world No. 1 and reigning Australian Open champion was held up at passport control at Tullamarine airport in Melbourne, the host city of the tournament, for several hours late at night as he was questioned, The Guardian reports. According to Djokovic’s father, the tennis star was moved to a room alone, away from his team, and without a phone.
The Victoria state government said it had refused to formally support Djokovic’s visa application and it was reported that the visa with which he attempted to enter Australia does not allow for exemptions for unvaccinated players, The Guardian also says. It’s unclear what the grounds for Djokovic’s exemption from getting vaccinated are, but many in Melbourne, Victoria, and across Australia are highly critical of it. Many in Australia can’t travel due to being unvaccinated, so it feels highly unfair. Then there’s also the fact that other players must be vaccinated, so why is it that Djokovic gets a pass?
Scott Morrison, the Australian prime minister, is not giving the player a pass, however. He says that Djokovic would be on the next plane home if he can’t provide sufficient proof of his medical exemption. “There should be no special rules for Novak Djokovic at all. None whatsoever.”