Djokovic asked to leave Australia after visa canceled
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has been denied entry into Australia and asked to leave the country, according to Paul Sakkal of The Age.
The Australian Border Force said Djokovic's visa was canceled because he didn't provide sufficient evidence justifying his vaccine exemption, which would've allowed the unvaccinated tennis player to enter Australia, per Sakkal.
The Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison, confirmed Djokovic wasn't permitted into the country.
"Rules are rules, especially when it comes to our borders," Morrison said. "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 from COVID, (and) we are continuing to be vigilant."
The Serbian's lawyers are challenging the government's decision in an attempt to ensure Djokovic's availability for the upcoming Australian Open.
On Tuesday, Djokovic announced he received a medical exemption to compete in the first Grand Slam of the year.
But Australian officials were reportedly concerned over evidence supporting the exemption, as well as a potentially erroneous visa application, per Sakkal. As a result, authorities held the 20-time Grand Slam winner in detention at Melbourne Airport for several hours before denying him entry.
Djokovic's father, Srdjan, said his son was separated from his team upon arrival in Australia and was being monitored by armed guards.
"This is a fight for the liberal world - this is not just a fight for Novak, but a fight for the whole world," Srdjan told Serbian news outlets, per Sakkal.
Additionally, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Instagram that Serbian officials are working to stop "the harassment of the best tennis player in the world," according to John Pye of The Associated Press.
Djokovic will be transported to a federally run quarantine hotel in Melbourne, reports Clint Stanaway of 9News Australia. Arrangements are apparently being made to confirm his flight back to Europe.
Djokovic won the Australian Open in 2021. He finished one win short of completing a calendar-year Grand Slam.