BRISBANE, Australia — Novak Djokovic’s chance to play for a 10 th Australian Open title was hurled into limbo Thursday when the country affirmed him entry and canceled his visa because he failed to meet the requirements for an exemption to COVID-1 9 vaccination rules.

The top-ranked Djokovic announced on social media Tuesday that he had “exemption permission” and acre in Australia late Wednesday after receives the medical exception from the Victoria state government that was expected to shield him from the strict vaccination regulations in place for this year’s first major tennis tournament.

But border experts did not accept the exemption. The Australian Border Force published a statement saying Djokovic failed to meet entry requirements. [time-brightcove not-tgx =” genuine “]

“The rule is very clear, ” Prime Minister Scott Morrison told a news conference Thursday. “You need to have a medical exemption. He didn’t have a valid medical exception. We reach the call at the border, and that’s where it’s enforced.”

Health Minister Greg Hunt said the visa cancellation followed a review of Djokovic’s medical exception by strip the staff members who inspected “at the unity and the evidence behind it.”

He said Djokovic was free to appeal the decision, “but if a visa is canceled, mortal will have to leave the country.”

The president of Djokovic’s native Serbia bombed the “harassment” of the perform, who was detained overnight at Melbourne Tullamarine Airport. The 20 -time major winner had to wait more than eight hours at the airport to find out if he would be allowed into the country. He was later moved to a inn, pending arrangements for a flight out of Australia or legal action.

Morrison showed the cancellation in a Twitter post:” No one is above these rules. Our strong border policies have been critical to Australia having one of the lowest death rates in the world countries from COVID, we are continuing to be vigilant.”

Responding last-minute to questions about confusion over the differ nation and federal requirements, Morrison said it was up to individual travelers to have correct documentation on arrival.

The prime minister scorned the suggestion that Djokovic was being singled out, but he acknowledged that other actors may be in Australia on the same sort of medical exemption.

“One of the things the Border Force does is they act on intelligence to address their attention to potential arrivals, ” he said. “When you get beings making public statements about what they say they have, and they’re going to do, they describe significant attention to themselves.”

Anyone who does that “whether they’re a personality, a politician, a tennis actor . . . they can expect to be asked questions more than others before you come.”

The medical exemptions, vetted by two independent committees of experts and based on information supplied anonymously by participates and taken on face value, had been designed to allow Djokovic to play in the Australian Open, regardless of his vaccination status for COVID-1 9.

Novak Djokovic Held In Melbourne Airport After Australian Visa Denied Diego Fedele/ Getty Images A partisan of Novak Djokovic wears a Serbian flag as he waits outside Park Hotel where Djokovic was made pending his removal from the country after his visa was cancelled by the Australian Border Force on Jan. 6, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia.

He has spoken out against vaccines in the past and has steadfastly refused to acknowledge whether he received any shots against the coronavirus.

His father, Srdjan Djokovic, told the B9 2 internet portal that his son was held at the airport “in a chamber which no one can enter” and guarded by two police officers.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Instagram that he spoke to Djokovic while he was being held at the airport. He said Serbian authorities were taking measures “so the molestation of the best tennis player in the world countries be stopped in the shortest possible time.”

Djokovic’s revelation on social media that he was heading to Australia to seeking a record 21 st major claim instant became a hot political topic, with countless Australians frantic that he was granted an exemption to enter the country. Critics questioned what fields he could have for the exemption, and sponsors highlighted the fact that he has a right to privacy and freedom of choice.

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley defended the “completely legitimate application and process” and demanded there was no special treatment for Djokovic.

The Victoria government has mandated that only fully injected participates, staff members, fans and officials can enroll Melbourne Park when the tournament begins Jan. 17.

Only 26 parties connected with the tournament apply for registration a medical exception and, Tiley said, exclusively a “handful” were granted. None of those musicians ought to have publicly identified.

Among the acceptable reasons for an exemption are acute major medical conditions, serious adverse reaction to a previous quantity of COVID-1 9 inoculation or evidence of a COVID-1 9 infection within the previous six months.

Djokovic tested positive for the coronavirus in June 2020 after he played in a series of exhibit coincides that he organized in Serbia and Croatia without social distancing amid the pandemic.

Concerns about Djokovic’s visa status started structure Wednesday.

Morrison first indicated by the medical exemption decision was a matter for the government of Victoria, where Melbourne is the district capital.

But Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews then clarified the border process.

“While the Victorian government and Tennis Australia may tolerate a non-vaccinated player to compete in the Australian Open, it is the Commonwealth government that will enforce our requirements at the Australian mete, ” Andrews said. “If an arriving individual is not inoculated, they must provide acceptable proof that they cannot be inoculated for medical concludes to be able to access the same travel arrangement as fully injected travelers.”

When queried again about Djokovic’s case last-minute Wednesday, Morrison supplemented: “If that manifestation is insufficient, then he won’t be treated any different to anyone else, and he’ll be on the next airplane home.”

–Associated Press Writer Dusan Stojanovic in Belgrade, Serbia, contributed to this report

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