World No 1 Novak Djokovic is reportedly being held in a room under police guard after his entry to Australia was delayed due to an issue with his visa.
Djokovic's participation at the 2022 Australian Open had been cast in doubt due to the country’s strict vaccination laws, however the Serbian star announced on Tuesday he would play in the tournament after receiving a medical exemption.
But now fresh uncertainty has emerged, with a report from Australian outlet The Age saying that the Victorian government has rejected an application from Border Force regarding Djokovic’s visa because his team had submitted the wrong type of visa.
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Djokovic's plane had landed in Australia but he is not being allowed to go through passport control. Djokovic's father Srdjan has told Serbian media that his son is in a room on his own as morning in Melbourne approaches.
"Novak is currently in a room which no one can enter,” Srdjan Djokovic told the B92 internet portal. “In front of the room are two policemen.”
It has also been reported that Djokovic has had his mobile phone taken away from him.
Djokovic's coach Goran Ivanisevic posted a photo on Instagram at around 4.45am Melbourne time of him seemingly in a waiting room with the caption: "Not the most usual trip Down Under."
Djokovic landed at around midnight local time in Tullamarine Airport.
The Age newspaper earlier reported: "The 20-time Grand Slam winner was attempting to enter the country on a visa that does not permit medical exemptions for being unvaccinated, a source briefed on the matter told The Age and the Herald. As a result, Border Force sought Victorian government support to facilitate his entry. The federal agency asked for the Andrews government’s support because Victoria partners with Tennis Australia in running the event that Djokovic’s visa pertains to.
"Federal authorities contacted Victorian departmental officials asking them to formally back his application. Victorian officials asked the federal authorities to put their request in writing and eventually rejected the request to sponsor Djokovic’s visa. The decision not to do so reflects the anger towards Djokovic among Victorian ministers and senior officials. It also highlights their sensitivity to being seen to assist Djokovic’s bid to play at the Open despite his outspoken vaccine scepticism and non-disclosure of the reason for his exemption."
This was seemingly confirmed by Victorian Labour MP Jaala Pulford on Twitter.
“The Federal Government has asked if we will support Novak Djokovic’s visa application to enter Australia," she wrote on Twitter.
“We will not be providing Novak Djokovic with individual visa application support to participate in the 2022 Australian Open Grand Slam.”
According to Victorian based reporter Paul Sakkal, Djokovic has landed in the country and Border Force has the power to grant him entry but it is still unclear how the situation will develop.
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