The world’s number one men’s tennis player is being held in a Melbourne, Australia, hotel that is used to house refugees and asylum seekers.
Novak Djokovic, the nine-time winner of the Australian Open, had his visa canceled on Thursday by Australian authorities after he “failed to provide appropriate evidence to meet the entry requirements to Australia.”
Djokovic arrived in Australia on Wednesday, and after a lengthy standoff with Australian officials, was told that he would not be allowed into the country on Thursday. Djokovic’s medical exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine — which was granted by the Victorian government Tuesday — was the reason for the standoff.
The Victorian government is a state-level authority.
“The visa for Novak Djokovic has been cancelled,” Australian Minister for Health Greg Hunt said Wednesday. “Obviously, that follows a review of the exemption which was provided by the Victorian government process. They were looking at the integrity and the evidence behind it.”
“It’s a matter to him whether he wishes to appeal that, but if a visa is canceled, someone will have to leave the country,” Hunt continued.
Djokovic is being held at the hotel after his lawyers challenged the decision by Australian authorities. The case has been adjourned until Monday.
The case has become worldwide news, with Djokovic’s parents both speaking out on the situation after speaking with their son.
“I feel terrible since yesterday, the last 24 hours that they are keeping him as a prisoner. It’s just not fair. It’s not human,” Djokovic’s mother, Dijana, said during a press conference.
“Terrible accommodation,” she continued. “It’s just some small immigration hotel, if it’s a hotel at all. It’s so dirty and the food is so terrible. They don’t want to give him any chance to move on to some better hotel or a house that he already rented. But we hope he will manage somehow.”
Djokovic’s father — Srdjan Djokovic — said that his son has become the “symbol and the leader of the free world.”
“My son is tonight in Australian captivity, but he has never been more free,” he said per The Age. “From this moment, Novak has become the symbol and the leader of the free world, the world of the poor and disadvantaged nations and peoples.”
“My son Novak Djokovic has shown that a small, but heroic country like Serbia, can have the best tennis player and sportsman of all time and that truth can no longer be hidden,” he continued.
Srdjan went on to rip the “greedy and arrogant members of the world’s oligarchy.”
The news of Djokovic’s medical exemption sparked outrage in Australia, a country that has seen severe COVID-19 lockdowns over the past year.
“While the Victorian government and Tennis Australia may permit a non-vaccinated player to compete in the Australian Open, it is the Commonwealth government that will enforce our requirements at the Australian border,” Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said. “If an arriving individual is not vaccinated, they must provide acceptable proof that they cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons to be able to access the same travel arrangement as fully vaccinated travelers.”
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to [email protected]
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