Will Novak Djokovic play the Australian Open? What happens next in the Covid vaccine series after the visa court decides


Despite having won Australian Open record nine times, it probably is Novak Djokovics quest for a 10th title that goes down in history as the most memorable.

World No. 1 was detained on January 5 after a nine-hour stand-off at Melbourne Airport, in which the Australian government cancels his visa in a row over whether he had a valid exemption to get around the country’s Covid-19 vaccine requirements.

The Serbian citizen then spent the following days in an immigration hotel while his legal team made an appeal on the grounds that he had tested positive on December 16 and had natural immunity.

But despite the country’s tennis authorities accepting this argument, the Australian government insisted that no such exception existed.

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There have also been many questions as to why Djokovic, who tested positive on December 16, shared photos of himself attended a ceremony in honor of his performance on December 17th. Djokovic was not wearing a mask. It is not known if he was aware that he had Covid at the time.

Will Djokovic play at the Australian Open?

On Monday, Djokovic was told he had been was upheld in its appeal against deportation, which indicated he would be able to take part in the Australian Open. Judge Anthony Kelly ruled that Djokovic did not have enough time to respond after being told his visa had been canceled.

It seemed to have paved the way for him to play after all, but there have been further complications since. Immigration Department of the Australian Government could still exercise their power to cancel the visa again. If that happens, it’s even possible that the 34-year-old will not be able to travel to Australia for another three years, after which he may even have retired.

What is clear is that it is the Australian Government, rather than Tennis Australia, that has the problem with his exemption. He received a letter from the latter organization’s chief physician in December confirming that he had received “a medical exemption from Covid vaccination”.

More about Novak Djokovic

Tournament organizers had set strict criteria that all players and staff should be vaccinated unless they could provide proof of a valid dispensation.

As it stands, Djokovic is set to play the major thanks to the court’s decision, but that could change depending on whether the Australian authorities decide to take the matter further.

On Tuesday, it emerged that the Border Force was investigating allegations that some of the information on Djokovic’s travel statement to Australia was incorrect. It was stated that he had not been to other countries for 14 days before his trip from Spain to Australia, but photos on social media led to him having been in Belgrade – although it is not known when the photos were taken and he has not commented on this issue publicly.

Djokovic had said on Twitter that he was “happy and grateful” for the decision and reiterated that he wanted to “stay and try to compete at the Australian Open.”

He added: “I stay focused on it. I flew here to play for one of the most important events we have in front of the amazing fans.”

Although he continues with the tournament as he had planned, he has not been able to train since his arrival and has not played a competitive match since the beginning of December.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the 20-time grand slam winner has been vocal on the issue of vaccination, first stating that he was “opposed to vaccinations” in April 2020.

In June 2020, he was forced to apologize for hosting the Adria Tour events in Serbia and Croatia, after which he was one of four players who tested positive for Covid.



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