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Novak Djokovic, Serbian tennis player and world number one
The Serbian is the defending champion of the tournament. Photo: @corinnedubreuil.

Australia denies Novak Djokovic admission after vaccination controversy

The world's best men's tennis player is facing the consequences of not being vaccinated.

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After having receiving exemption from the Australian Open, Serbia's Novak Djokovic arrived with his delegation without having assessed Australia's COVID-19 protocols.

Although the world's number one tennis player had been given the green light to take part in the tournament without being vaccinated — claiming a medical exemption from receiving the jab — the Australian government emphatically denied him entrance to the country, so he will no longer be able to defend his crown in the first grand open of the year.

It was first announced by State Government Minister Jaala Pulford. 

"The federal government has asked whether we will support Novak Djokovic's visa application to enter Australia. No, we will not provide Novak Djokovic with individual visa application assistance to participate in the 2022 Australian Open Grand Slam," he said.

More recently, the President of Australia, Scott Morrison, announced on Twitter that "Mr. Djokovic's visa has been canceled. Rules are rules, especially when it comes to our borders. No one is above these rules. Our strong border policies have been instrumental in Australia having one of the lowest death rates in the world from COVID, we remain vigilant."

The story is just beginning

Given these events, the tennis player's father, Srdjan Djokovic, as well as the president of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, denounced mistreatment and persecution of the player, especially after permission had been granted by the tournament's organizers. Security forces held him in custody for several hours before denying him entry.

Although Djokovic has not confirmed whether or not he has received the coronavirus vaccine, what the Serbian did publicly state was his disagreement with the inoculation. And although the previous day the controversy was served by the permission to play without being vaccinated, where many expressed a "special treatment" for Novak, today things could also have been handled in a more cordial way.

More anti-vax athletes

One of the most notorious cases since the massive COVID-19 vaccination campaign began, along with Djokovic, has been that of the Brooklyn Nets point guard, Kyrie Irving. After being separated from the team, he was recently called to be part of the rotation on behalf of injuries who have accumulated because of rising COVID-19 cases.

Also in the NBA, the "King", LeBron James, initially spoke out against vaccines, something he later publicly admitted was the best option for him and his family. It's an example not followed by Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards, who continues to actively criticize vaccines.

In the NFL, one of the Baltimore Ravens' most charismatic players, Lamar Jackson, also refused to be vaccinated, despite having contracted the virus twice.

In the MLB, New York Yankees first baseman, Anthony Rizzo also claimed to be responsible for his decision not to get vaccinated.

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