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Is Novak Djokovic playing the Australian Open?

by Jonas Eriksson

Is Novak Djokovic playing the Australian Open? According to AUS Open director Craig Tiley he has a medical exemption, but…

The tennis world is at the moment revolving around one question: Is Novak Djokovic playing the Australian Open? According to the tournament director Craig Tiley he has received a medical exemption, but according to the Australian authorities, he will be treated as anyone else, which means, as unvaccinated, he is not allowed.

The medical exemption (in a country that has had perhaps the strongest reaction to the pandemic) has enraged a lot of people. The rules are that all players, spectators and staff at the open must be double vaccinated — except if given an exemption — and Djokovic has consistently refused to reveal his vax status.

Strong reactions and visa problems

The latest news I could find is that Djokovic is denied entry after a “visa” mix up. This is a quote from the paywall-locked article:

Djokovic is unable to proceed through passport control after a member of his support team made a critical mistake in requesting a sub-class of visa that does not apply to those who have received medical exemptions from a Covid-19 vaccine. The error had been discovered by the Australian border force while Djokovic was already travelling on a 14-hour commercial flight from Dubai to Melbourne.

Two sides of the story

Of course not everyone is in agreement over this bizarre situation. The reaction to the pandemic is perhaps one of the most polarizing questions in our time. Maybe Djokovic will be able to enter Melbourne with some help from the tournament, but he will likely not enjoy the response from frustrated locals who have endured rough restrictions over the last two years.

No matter what the resolution is, it’s sad to start the tennis year with some kind of scandal.

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