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No vax, no visa for Novak as tennis star faces deportation

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Nine-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic is set to be deported after his visa was revoked by the Australian government.

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The world No.1 intends to file an injunction in an attempt to stop the deportation.

Health Minister Greg Hunt confirmed on Thursday that Djokovic would have to leave the country following the cancellation of his visa.

“The advice I have is that the ABF (Australian Border Force) can confirm that Mr Djokovic failed to provide appropriate evidence to meet the entry requirements to Australia and his visa has been subsequently cancelled,” Hunt told Channel 7.

“It’s a matter for him whether he wishes to appeal that but if a visa is cancelled, somebody will have to leave the country.

“That follows a review of the exemption which was provided through Victorian government processes.”

Djokovic has been transported from Tullamarine airport, where he was detained by border authorities after arriving late on Wednesday night, to a quarantine hotel in the inner-Melbourne suburb of Carlton.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison weighed in, saying no-one was above border rules.

“Rules are rules, especially when it comes to our borders. No one is above these rules,” Morrison tweeted on Thursday morning.

But the move by the Australian government threatened to cause a diplomatic incident between Canberra and Belgrade.

“I’ve just finished my telephone conversation with Novak Djokovic,” Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic posted on Instagram.

“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.

“In line with all norms of international law, Serbia will fight for Novak, truth and justice.”

Djokovic had a vaccination exemption from that allowed him to compete in Melbourne but with a visa that did not allow for medical exemptions.

However it’s reported that the visa Djokovic was using was the same as three other international tennis players with similar exemptions who had already entered the country without incident.

The Victorian government said it was a matter for federal authorities.

“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,” Victoria’s acting Sports Minister Jaala Pulford said.

The visa cancellation came after the world’s best men’s player was left stranded overnight in a police-guarded room at Melbourne Airport after a 14-hour flight from Dubai.

Djokovic’s entourage includes his coach, 2001 Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic, who stated the obvious in a social media post after their arrival.

“Not the most usual trip from Down Under,” he posted on Instagram with a selfie from an airport lounge, accompanied by face-palm and mind-blown emojis.

Never a stranger to controversy, 34-year-old Djokovic became the subject of a major public backlash after revealing on Tuesday that he’d received the vaccination exemption which allowed him to bid for a record 21st major title.

Amid the storm, Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley insisted the world No.1 was getting no special treatment.

Australia’s world No.1 Ash Barty said she understood the frustration in the community at the exemption decision.

“I think it’s a tough one. As we’ve seen a little bit in the last day or so, from the Australian public, I know how hard it has been for Australians… but in particular Victorians have had a real rough trot over the last 18 months and two years.

“I understand why they may be frustrated with the decision.”

-AAP, with agencies

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