Novak Djokovic attempted to use a previous diagnosis of COVID-19 to receive a medical exemption to play at the Australian Open, according to the Associated Press.
Djokovic reportedly had COVID-19 in December, according to court documents filed by his lawyers. The state government of Victoria is allowing medical exemptions for people who test positive for COVID-19 in the past six months. This is why Djokovic received a medical exemption to play at the Australian Open. The event is held in Victoria, one of the country’s six states.
Border officials, however, did not accept Djokovic’s previous diagnosis of COVID-19 as an acceptable reason for a medical exemption, which led to Djokovic’s detention and the cancellation of his visa. Djokovic and his lawyers are currently fighting the move so that Djokovic can participate in the Australian Open, which begins on January 17. A judge will need to determine whether Victoria’s local policies supersede policies set by the Australian Federal Government.
The state government of Victoria confirmed Djokovic’s medical exemption and granted him access to Melbourne Park, where the Australian Open is being held. This did not guarantee that Djokovic would be allowed to enter the country.
Part of the confusion is said to be due to Tennis Australia, which hosts the Australian Open. According to the Associated Press, Tennis Australia allegedly gave incorrect information to players and staff regarding acceptable exemptions. This could explain why Djokovic believed his exemption for his previous COVID-19 diagnosis would apply to the Australian border.
If Djokovic’s appeal fails and his visa remains canceled, he could face a three-year ban from Australia, the Australian Border Force has told The Associated Press.