Australia Looks Into More Tennis Players After Djokovic’s Visa Cancelled

By Epoch Times Sydney Staff
Epoch Times Sydney Staff
Epoch Times Sydney Staff
January 6, 2022 Updated: January 7, 2022

Australian Border Force authorities are investigating two more international players after tennis star Novak Djokovic’s visa was sensationally cancelled upon entry at Melbourne airport, just days before the Australian Open on Jan. 17.

Djokovic arrived in Australia on Wednesday night with an exemption to the vaccination rules granted by Tennis Australia and the Victorian government. However, his visa was rejected by the Australian Border Force (ABF).

Australian Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews confirmed that the ABF is conducting further inquiries.

“I am aware that there are two individuals currently being investigated by Australian Border Force,” she told Channel Seven.

Andrews said that based on her understanding, the entry requirement, rather than the visa, is the issue.

“The Border Force has been very clear that he (Djokovic) was not able to meet the requirement to provide the evidence he needed for entry to Australia,” she told the Nine Network earlier.

Novak Djokovic’s father, Srdjan Djokovic, has savaged the way his son has been treated in Australia, saying the decision to deport his son is politically motivated, arguing that Novak filed the same type of documents as 25 other tennis players who have granted exemptions, and none of them had run into any problems.

Epoch Times Photo
A television cameraman films a hotel where Serbia’s Novak Djokovic is believed to be in, in Melbourne, Australia, on Jan. 6, 2022. (Joel Carrett/AAP Image via AP)

The world champion is currently waiting for a court hearing on Monday to see if he can stay in the country to win his 10th Australian Open champion and become the male tennis player with the most grand slam wins ever, beating Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who is running for a federal election this year, said on Thursday morning that no one was above Australia’s border entry rules.

“Mr Djokovic’s visa has been cancelled. Rules are rules, especially when it comes to our borders. No one is above these rules,” he wrote on Twitter.

However, former Immigration Department deputy secretary Abul Rizvi believes that the ABF and government handled the Serbian champion’s visa issue very poorly.

“To wait until he arrived at the border and then cancel the visa is extraordinarily poor practice,” he told ABC radio. “The process used for Novak Djokovic is simply unworkable at any scale.”

Finance Minister Simon Birmingham, meanwhile, said the government had always been clear about the entry rules for international arrivals since the border reopening in December.

“We made that clear to Tennis Australia. It’s been publicly clear for a long time. You have got to be double vaccinated if you are not an Australian citizen to enter Australia,” he told the Nine Network.

Epoch Times Photo
Demonstrators pose with a placard picturing Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic as they participate in a rally in front of Serbia’s National Assembly as World No.1 tennis player Novak Djokovic fights deportation from Australia after his visa was cancelled on January 6, 2022, in Belgrade, Serbia. (Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images)

Former Davis Cup player Paul McNamee, who was the tournament director of the Australian Open from 1995 to 2006, joined the discussion in saying that it’s not fair for Djokovic.

“The guy played by the rules, he got his visa, he arrives, he’s a nine-time champion, and whether people like it or not, he’s entitled to fair play,” McNamee told ABC News.

“There’s no doubt there’s some disconnect between the state and the federal government,” he said. “I hate to think politics are involved, but it feels that way.”