Novak Djokovic's chance to play for a 10th Australian Open title was thrown into limbo early Thursday when the country denied him entry and cancelled his visa because he failed to meet the requirements for an exemption to COVID-19 vaccination rules.
As soon as the news broke out, Tennis fans flocked to twitter to share their reactions on the development. Majority of them were delighted by the decision and lauded the Australian authorities for their action. As usual, the netizens marked the development by hilarious memes, mostly taking a dig at Djokovic.
Take a look:
Footage of Novak Djokovic trying to explain his medical exemption to Border Force Police in Australia pic.twitter.com/gUs1T0AgJ3— Chris Goldsmith (@TheTennisTalker) January 5, 2022
The news that Djokovic was on his way to Australia with an exemption - announced first by him via social media, then by Tennis Australia via press release - was not exactly greeted warmly in Melbourne, where most people endured months of strict lockdowns and harsh travel restrictions at the height of the pandemic. More than 90% of Victoria state residents aged 12 and over are fully vaccinated.
The medical exemption had been designed to allow Djokovic to play in the Australian Open, regardless of his vaccination status for COVID-19. He has spoken out against vaccines in the past and has steadfastly refused to acknowledge whether he received any shots against the coronavirus.
The top-ranked Djokovic landed in Australia late Wednesday after receiving a medical exemption from the Victoria state government that would shield him from the strict vaccination rules in place for this year's first major tennis tournament, which begins Jan 17.
But border authorities did not accept the exemption. The Australian Border Force issued a statement saying Djokovic failed to meet entry requirements.
Djokovic is launching legal action in Australia's Federal Circuit Court against the cancellation of his visa. If he were forced to leave now, he would have time to return before the Australian Open starts if his attempt to get into Australia - and the Australian Open - eventually proved successful.
With Agency Inputs
ALSO READAustralian Open: Everything about Novak Djokovic and his attempts to enter Australia for the Grand...
(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)