Novak Djokovic will be on ‘next plane home’: Australian PM Scott Morrison breaks silence on exemption given to tennis star


Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has warned that tennis star Novak Djokovic will be sent back on the ‘next plane home’ if he fails to provide documents supporting COVID vaccination exemption claims to play at the Australian Open.

Morrison said that the Serbian tennis star will not be treated ‘no different to anyone else.’ Morrison said, “Now Novak Djokovic, when he arrives in Australia, he has to if he’s not vaccinated, must provide acceptable proof that he cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons to be able to access the same travel arrangements as fully-vaccinated travellers.”

The Australian PM added, “If that evidence is insufficient, then he will be treated no different to anyone else and he’ll be on the next plane home.”

Morrison said that any individual seeking to enter Australia must comply with the country’s border requirements. He said, “There should be no special rules for Novak Djokovic at all. None whatsoever.”

Morrison’s statement came after Australians reacted angrily to the decision to allow Djokovic to play this year’s Australian Open despite there being ambiguity over his vaccination history. Djokovic had tweeted on Tuesday, “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!”

Several prominent Australians had reacted angrily to the reports of Djokovic being given special treatment even when local residents suffered the trauma of a prolonged period of harsh lockdown,” tweeted former Australian Rules player Kevin Bartlett.

Sports journalist Andy Maher tweeted, “Australians have been denied for two years, but this bloke – who’s taken extraordinary liberties in the face of the coronavirus – gets his exemption. Novak Djokovic is an all-time great, but he ain’t essential.”

According to a report by the BBC, all players and staff at the Australian Open must be vaccinated or have an exemption granted by an expert independent panel. Though Djokovic has not confirmed whether he is fully vaccinated, he had said last year that he was ‘opposed to vaccination.’

Australian Open starts from 17 January.