Australia has cancelled the visa of Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic ahead of the 2022 Australian Open, the BBC has reported.
The country intends to deport him on Thursday (6 January) and his lawyers are expected to appeal.
Australia's Health Minister Greg Hunt confirmed the news saying that the star failed to provide 'appropriate standards of proof' that would have allowed him to enter the country.
The Australian Border Force confirmed the news through a statement saying: "The ABF will continue to ensure that those who arrive at our border comply with our laws and entry requirements.
"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."
Commenting on the reports that he was held in the airport without his phone, the ABF went on to add: "The ABF can confirm Mr Djokovic had access to his phone.”
World number one Djokovic was poised to defend his Australian Open title this month but tournament organisers prompted public outrage by granting him permission to play.
Acting Sports Minister Jaala Pulford confirmed that the state government was not supporting his visa application to compete in the Australian Open.
She tweeted: “The Federal Government has asked if we will support Novak Djokovic’s visa application to enter Australia.
“We will not be providing Novak Djokovic with individual visa application support to participate in the 2022 Australian Open Grand Slam.
“We’ve always been clear on two points: visa approvals are a matter for the Federal Government, and medical exemptions are a matter for doctors.”
Update on #AusOpen2022…— Jaala Pulford MP (@JaalaPulford) January 5, 2022
The Federal Government has asked if we will support Novak Djokovic’s visa application to enter Australia.
We will not be providing Novak Djokovic with individual visa application support to participate in the 2022 Australian Open Grand Slam.
Djokovic – a nine-time winner – has not spoken publicly about his vaccination status but last year said he was 'opposed to vaccination'.
It remains unclear what qualifies the 34-year-old for exemption, and tournament director Craig Tiley has said it would be 'helpful' for Djokovic to clarify his situation.
The Australian Open is scheduled to begin on 17 January with Mr Tiley revealing 26 unvaccinated players applied for exemption, with Djokovic among only a 'handful' given the green light under guidelines set by federal regulators.
Having insisted the 20-time grand slam winner had not benefited from 'special favour', he later urged the player to be transparent on the issue as public criticism increased.
“We completely understand and empathise that some would have been upset by the fact that Novak Djokovic has come in because of his statements around vaccination in the past couple of years,” Tiley told reporters.
“We would love…Novak to talk about it and help us with it, but ultimately it’s going to be up to him.
“We aren’t in a position, even legally, to disclose other people’s medical information.”
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
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