Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic says the “harassment” of men’s tennis world No.1 Novak Djokovic must end, with the player left in limbo by the cancellation of his visa days out from the Australian Open.
Djokovic was detained for several hours overnight at a Melbourne airport following his arrival at about 11.20 pm on Wednesday, after the Australian Border Force raised concerns over his entry visa.
That visa was later cancelled, with Health Minister Greg Hunt saying the federal government had conducted a review of the COVID-19 vaccine exemption granted to Djokovic by the Victorian state government.
Djokovic can appeal the decision, “But if a visa is cancelled, somebody will have to leave the country,” Mr Hunt told the Seven Network.
Since December 15, fully vaccinated eligible visa holders can arrive in Australia without needing to apply for a travel exemption and can travel to eligible states and territories without having to quarantine.
But if a person is not vaccinated, they must provide proof they cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons or be turned away.
Djokovic has not officially disclosed his vaccination status but it is widely believed he is unvaccinated.
In a statement released before the visa cancellation, President Vucic said Djokovic had the full support of his home country.
“I told our Novak that the whole of Serbia is with him and that our bodies are doing everything to see that the harassment of the world’s best tennis player is brought to an end immediately,” the statement said.
Djokovic said on Tuesday he had received a medical exemption from COVID-19 vaccination requirements and flew in to Melbourne on Wednesday to play at the first major of the year, which starts on January 17 at Melbourne Park.