No more tennis visas under investigation amid Djokovic saga

The Australian Open took yet another blow with Home Secretary Karen Andrews, revealing that two other international players were under investigation after Novak Djokovic’s visa was found to be invalid.

Andrews said the Australian Border Force, which she oversees, is examining other players who traveled to Australia under similar circumstances for the Open.

“I can confirm that the Australian Border Force is carrying out their investigations… I am aware that two people are currently under investigation by the Australian Border Force,” Andrews told Channel Seven.

Andrews said anyone entering Australia must show proof of vaccination or medical reasons why they were not vaccinated.

“But we have the intelligence to indicate that there are individuals here now who have not met the entry requirements and we need to investigate that,” Andrews said earlier on the Nine Network.

“I know there is a lot of visa chatter. The visa, to my knowledge, is not the problem, it is the entry requirement.

“The Border Force was very clear that he (Novak) was unable to meet the requirement to provide the evidence he needed to enter Australia.”

The world No.1 faces three more days at an immigrant detention hotel in Melbourne amid one of the great modern sports controversies, pending a court ruling on his ability to defend the Australian crown that ‘he won nine times.

Beyond the calm of his hotel, outcry in his native Serbia over Djokovic’s treatment grew with his family claiming he had been “held captive” in Australia and insisting that the treatment of one of the sport’s greatest sportsmen were a disgrace.

Closer to home, former Davis Cup player Paul McNamee, who led the Australian Open from 1995 to 2006 as tournament director, joined those who think the 34-year-old deserved his day in the field, not in court.

“It’s not fair. The guy played by the rules, he got his visa, he’s coming in, he’s a nine-time champion and whether people like it or not, he’s entitled to fair play,” said McNamee at ABC News.

“There is no question that there is a certain disconnect between the state and the federal government.

“I hate to think politics is involved, but that’s how it is.”

Djokovic had traveled to Australia after authorities in Victoria state granted him a waiver of vaccination rules, but upon his arrival on Wednesday evening, the ABF rejected the visa.

A court hearing to try to stop his deportation is scheduled for Monday in the secure hotel most often used by immigration officials to house asylum seekers and refugees.

“He is the only player I have ever known in Australian Open history whose visa has been canceled,” said McNamee.

“Players need to know with confidence that if they are going around the world to attend events, there won’t be that kind of problem at the entrance.

“It’s a problem we’ve seen over the past two years in Australia and the victim is the world’s No.1 player.

“He was following the rules. Now you might be angry that he got an exemption, but players need to be confident that the rules they follow will be enforced.

“It’s not fair to him. Whether you like the rules or not, he doesn’t make the rules – so he deserves his day on the pitch and not on the pitch, in my opinion.

In Serbia, where Djokovic is idolized as a national hero, his family held a rally outside the country’s parliament in the capital Belgrade, with around 300 fans chanting supporting slogans.

His father Srdjan promised the crowd that the protests would take place every day until Djokovic has been freed.

-AAP

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