The 20-time Major champion Novak Djokovic landed in Melbourne ahead of the season's first Major event. The nine-time Australian Open winner received an "exemption permission" to land in Australia without proof of vaccination, which caused a massive rage among the Aussies and those against Novak's beliefs.
While Djokovic completed a long Melbourne trip from Spain, he is still not confirmed for the Australian Open draw, as it remains unclear what exemption he received to enter the country. Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison stated that 'Djokovic will be on next plane home' without proof of jab exemption ahead of the Australian Open.
Djokovic has yet to open up about the subject, and we will have to follow the news closely to clarify his status and the next steps of the government and Tennis Australia. The tournament organizers insist Djokovic has not benefited from any "special favor" after being granted the indefinite medical exemption.
All players and staff at the upcoming Major must be vaccinated or have an exemption granted by an independent expert panel. The tournament director Craig Tiley stated that 26 unvaccinated players applied for exemption, with only a "handful" given, which does not clear Novak's presence Down Under.
Novak has won nine Australian Open titles since 2008 and eight since 2011, dominating Melbourne Park and earning three straight crowns in the past three years.
Novak Djokovic landed in Melbourne, but his status remains in the dark.
"Any individual seeking to enter Australia must comply with our border requirements.
Novak has to because if he's not vaccinated, he must provide acceptable proof that he can not be vaccinated for medical reasons and to be able to access the same travel arrangements as fully vaccinated travelers. We await his presentation and what evidence he provides to support that.
If that evidence is insufficient, he will not be treated differently from anyone else and will be on the next plane home. There should be no special rules for Novak Djokovic at all, none whatsoever," Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.
"We made it extra difficult for anyone applying for an application to ensure it was the right process and to make sure the medical experts deal with it independently. There has been no special favor or opportunity granted to Novak Djokovic or any tennis player. There's been a process that goes above and beyond the normal process for everyone," Craig Tiley said.