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A shocker down under

Tennis

The GIST: The Novak Djokovic–Australian Open saga took a stunning turn yesterday when the Australian government’s initial decision to cancel his visa was reversed, granting the men’s world No. 1 entry into the country. WTF, mate?

January 10, 2022
THE INDEPENDENT
THE INDEPENDENT

The GIST: The Novak Djokovic–Australian Open saga took a stunning turn yesterday when the Australian government’s initial decision to cancel his visa was reversed, granting the men’s world No. 1 entry into the country. WTF, mate?

A refresher: In November 2021, Australian Open organizers implemented a vaccine mandate for the tournament, but Djovokic — who is (probably) unvaccinated — received a last-minute medical exemption to compete. However, when he arrived in Australia last week, the Joker was denied entry after failing to provide the appropriate documents.

  • Djokovic filed an appeal and spent the weekend in immigration detention (aka a refugee hotel) awaiting the court’s final decision.
  • The latest example of a high profile, anti-vax athlete trying to bend the rules in their favor, the story quickly captivated an already polarized world.

Yesterday’s ruling: At 5:16 p.m. local time, an Australian court reversed course on the government’s decision yesterday, granting Djokovic entry into the country and, in turn, into next week’s tournament, where he’ll compete for a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam title.

  • The judge ruled that the tennis star be released within 30 minutes of the decision and confirmed that if Djokovic had been deported, he would not have been allowed back into the country for the next three years. We have...thoughts.

Elsewhere in Australia: Meanwhile, the women are holding things down on the actual court. World No. 1 Ash Barty won the Adelaide International title (a tune-up for next week’s major) while World No. 15 Simona Halep won the other warm-up event, the Melbourne Summer Set 1.

  • And while defending Aussie Open champ Naomi Osaka withdrew from the Melbourne Summer Set 1 due to an abdominal injury, she’s still expected to play when the Grand Slam begins next week. Competitors (and muppets), beware.