Novak Djokovic's Visa Cancellation in Australia Has Fans, Critics Courting Memes

Novak Djokovic’s Visa Cancellation in Australia Has Fans, Critics Courting Memes

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Novak Djokovic, Tennis world number one, had his entry visa cancelled by Australia, potentially opening the way to his detention and deportation. AFP reported that he landed in Melbourne after celebrating on social media that he had a medical exemption to play in the tournament without proof he was fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Australian Open organisers had granted him vaccine exemption after his certificate was cleared by two medical panels. The AFP report stated that it did not sit well with Australians, who have undergone Covid-19 lockdowns and other restrictions for two years. Djokovic was denied entry to Australia and had his visa cancelled. The incident drew mixed reactions from social media; while Djokovic fans stood by him, others thought the move was fair. Regardless, Twitter saw many memes come out of the situation.

In his earlier post on Twitter, Djokovic had written, “Happy New Year! Wishing you all health, love & joy in every moment & may you feel love & respect towards all beings on this wonderful planet. I’ve spent fantastic quality time with loved ones over break & today I’m heading Down Under with an exemption permission. Let’s go 2022!”

Many Australians had expressed dismay under the post. One of the comments read, “I’m an Australian living in the uk. I couldn’t attend my father or my sister’s funeral in Australia. In fact my mother couldn’t even cross state lines to go to her daughter’s funeral. What makes you so special? Cheers mate. Good luck with that crowd.” Arguments broke out between those who were supporting Djokovic and those who weren’t.

The Australian Border Force said in a statement, “Mr Djokovic failed to provide appropriate evidence to meet the entry requirements to Australia, and his visa has been subsequently cancelled.” “Non-citizens who do not hold a valid visa on entry or who have had their visa cancelled will be detained and removed from Australia,” it added.

Earlier, when Djokovic had received medical exemption from getting vaccinated for the Australian Open, Prime Minister Scott Morrison had said that the Victorian government had given him the clearance and so they would be acting accordingly. Acting Sports Minister Jaala Pulford had said, “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.” Australian Open boss Craig Tiley had said, “We completely understand and empathise with … people being upset about the fact that Novak has come in because of his statements over the past couple of years around vaccination… However, it’s ultimately up to him to discuss with the public his condition, if he chooses to do that, and the reasons why he received an exemption.”

(With inputs from AFP, Reuters)

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