Novak Djokovic pictured for first time inside airport as Australian officials reject visa
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A photo of Novak Djokovic at the airport has emerged after the world No 1’s visa was cancelled. The nine-time Australian Open champion landed in Melbourne late on Wednesday local time after receiving a medical exemption to play the Grand Slam tournament, but had his visa revoked after an overnight stand-off with Australian Border Force.
Djokovic announced on Tuesday that he would be flying to Melbourne for the Australian Open after receiving “an exemption permission”, something later confirmed by Tennis Australia who said the world No 1 was granted a medical exemption “following a rigorous review process involving two separate independent panels of medical experts.”
While the 20-time Major champion was in the air on his way to Australia, the country’s Border Force found an issue with his visa, finding that a member of his team had applied for the “wrong type”, which did not cover medical exemptions.
The Serb landed in Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport late on Wednesday and was escorted to an airport room by Border officials, kept overnight as he was asked for evidence of his exemption.
According to The Age, Djokovic attempted to enter the country on the basis that he had recovered from a Covid-19 infection in the last six months, the grounds for his medical exemption, and when asked for more proof presented “minimal” evidence for his exemption, supported by just one doctor.
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On Thursday morning local time, Australian Border Force confirmed that the tennis star’s visa had been cancelled, saying: “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.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison also announced the news, tweeting: “Mr Djokovic’s visa has been cancelled. Rules are rules, especially when it comes to our borders. No one is above these rules. Our strong border policies have been critical to Australia having one of the lowest death rates in the world from COVID, we are continuing to be vigilant.”
Now, a photo of Djokovic at the airport in Melbourne has emerged.
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The image, from Nine News Melbourne, shows the 86-time tour title winner at the Australian Border Force desk, donning a mask with his luggage in hand.
Djokovic appears to be wearing the same clothes worn in the Instagram photo he used to announce that he was flying to Melbourne on Tuesday, when he shared a snap of himself in the airport before taking off.
The 34-year-old was escorted to a quarantine hotel in Melbourne following the debacle, as his lawyers appealed his deportation.
He is now set to stay in the country until Monday, when the appeal hearing over his visa and deportation will resume.
Another video has now appeared, presumed to show the 34-year-old inside his hotel, blowing kisses at fans and making a heart with his hands.
Supporters gathered outside Melbourne’s Park Hotel on Thursday to protest the cancellation of Djokovic’s visa.
The hotel is also occupied by asylum seekers in immigration detention – some of whom have been there for nine years – and protestors calling for the detention centre to be abolished had also gathered outside.
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