There are still a few days until the beginning of the Australian Open, which will start on January 17, but the tournament is already in the eye of the storm. The controversial landing of Novak Djokovic in Melbourne, where he arrived with a medical exemption and other documents that present irregularities, has generated great discontent among the citizens of a country that applied very strict regulations to prevent the spread of the disease. COVID-19.
A week after his arrival and after a judicial process that was favorable to him, Djokovic he finally trains on the main courts of the first Grand Slam of the year. But while Nole tries to arrive in optimal conditions to the tournament, there is a generalized fury among those inhabitants who have adhered to the Government directives to prevent the advance of the coronavirus and currently facing outbreaks driven by the variant Omicron.
In Australia Much of the border and social distancing restrictions were lifted after a successful vaccination process. While the campaign was slow to launch, they now have one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, with the 92% of people over 16 years of age with a complete scheme. In that sense, the controversial arrival of Djokovic it has unleashed widespread fury.
The world number one tennis player was arrested when he landed at the airport in Melbourne last Wednesday night and they canceled his visa because did not submit adequate evidence to meet entry requirements. However, after spending several days in a refugee hotel, the judge Anthony Kelly annulled that decision and granted him the freedom to begin his preparation for the Australian Open.
The Serbian player of 34 years, that for a long time opposes mandatory vaccination, confirmed during the interview with the Australian Border Force that not vaccinated and argued that his medical exemption was possible because he had contracted the COVID-19 for the second time during December 2021. And while the possible discrepancies in your traveler form, with an alleged trip to Spain prior to his arrival in Australia, the city of Melbourne disapproves of your stay.
The inhabitants of the host city of the Australian Open they began to look suspiciously at a Djokovic who stayed in the country to mount a legal battle and are still hurt because he has managed to cross a border that for two years was protected by strict blockades. As explained Time, thousands of Australian citizens were unable to return home during the pandemic Y Melbourne has endured six quarantines for a total of 262 days since March 2020.
Once the controls were relaxed, many local citizens were able to return to see their families but proof of vaccination was always required to enter. The same policy applies for entry to non-citizens or non-residents, who can request a medical exemption, which in the case of Djokovic it was declared valid. Although the last word is not said.
From the Immigration Minister’s office of Australia They warned that they were still being evaluated whether they would use their discretion to cancel Djokovic’s visa. “In line with due process, Minister Alex Hawke will thoroughly consider the matter “said a spokesman, who declined to comment further for legal reasons.
While the controversy spreads in the streets of Melbourne, where there was also an uproar by fans who celebrated Djokovic’s release with serbian flags in front of the hotel where he was detained, which was also used by other people to criticize Australia’s border policies, the preparation of Djokovic continues and could be on the court next week.
These are difficult days because, at the same time, infections by COVID-19, which depletes hospital resources and puts medical facilities to the test. Public opinion of Australia, especially of Melbourne, who suffered one of the longest confinements in the world, has shown himself mostly against the tennis player who has won the most times Australian Open and he could play the tournament without being vaccinated, while the fans and staff who work at the contest have to have his full schedule to attend.