The first Grand Slam of 2022 has been plagued with drama surrounding the visa application of World No 1 Novak Djokovic.
In November the Australian Open organisers confirmed that all players must be vaccinated against Covid-19 unless they had a medical exemption. The Victorian Government had stated that in order to qualify for the exemption competitors must provide evidence of a ‘genuine medical condition’ which prevented them from receiving the vaccine.
Djokovic has consistently refused to confirm if he has received the vaccination and was believed to be reluctant to have the jab. This had thrown his participation at the event into serious doubt where he is a record nine-time champion. Yet on Tuesday the Wimbledon Champion announced on Twitter that he had qualified for an exemption and had been approved a visa.
However, in another plot twist, the border force officials at Melbourne airport denied Djokovic entry into the country after they rejected his vaccination exemption status. The Serb has appealed the decision and the matter has been adjourned until Monday when a final decision will be made. In the meantime, Djokovic has been moved to a quarantine hotel while his team will speak to the authorities in an attempt to reach a resolution.
Whatever the outcome it is obviously not ideal preparation for Djokovic who was hoping to claim his record breaking 21st Grand Slam in Melbourne to take him clear of Roger Federer & Rafael Nadal in the all-time rankings. The controversy will continue for the next few days with his place in the Australian Open hanging in the balance!