Djokovic Australian Open 2021

Novak Djokovic will ‘be on next plane home’ if medical exemption is insufficient, warns Australian Prime Minister

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has reiterated that Novak Djokovic “won’t be treated differently” and will have to provide sufficient evidence of his Australian Open medical exemption when he arrives at the border.

Over the past few months, 20-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic had plunged his Australian Open involvement into considerable doubt after he had refused on numerous occasions to declare his Covid-19 vaccination status.

In order for players to compete at the first Grand Slam of the season, they are required to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19. A move labelled as “blackmail” by Novak’s father Srdjan.

Despite refusing to declare his vaccination status, Djokovic recently revealed that he had been granted a medical exemption to compete at the Australian Open.

This comes after World number one Djokovic withdrew from the ATP Cup. On Djokovic’s ATP Cup withdrawal, national teammate Dusan Lajovic hinted at a medical exemption when he revealed Djokovic told him he was “waiting for a decision.”

In order for a medical exemption to be given, Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley outlined that the applications are looked through by two independent panels of medical experts.

In a media press conference after chairing a meeting with state leaders, Morrison said “any individual seeking to enter Australia must comply with our border requirements.

“He [Djokovic] has to because if he’s not vaccinated, he must provide acceptable proof that he cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons and to be able to access the same travel arrangements, as fully vaccinated travellers

“we await his presentation and what evidence he provides us to support that. If that evidence is insufficient, then he won’t be treated any different to anyone else and he’ll be on the next plane home.

“There should be no special rules for Novak Djokovic at all. None whatsoever.

“The circumstances are not unique, the issue is whether he has sufficient evidence to support that he would qualify for that exception.”

Meanwhile, Victorian Sports Minister Jaala Pulford said in a press conference that “I think lots of people in the Victorian community will find this to be a disappointing outcome.

“But the process is the process; nobody has had special treatment. The process is incredibly robust.”

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.