Is Novak Djokovic vaccinated, what was his medical exemption and what happens now?

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Novak Djokovic is facing being thrown out of Australia just two days after announcing he had been granted an exemption to allow him to play at the Australian Open without being vaccinated against coronavirus.

Telegraph Sport looks at how the situation has unraveled and what will happen next.

Is Djokovic vaccinated?

It is not known for certain but it would be safe to assume he is not given he applied for an exemption from having to be jabbed. Djokovic has also become one of the faces of the anti-vaxx movement, having started in April last year: “Personally, I’m opposed to vaccination.” The 34-year-old has opted for alternative medical treatments in the past and admitted that he cried for three days with guilt after he had to choose conventional elbow surgery in 2018. He has steadfastly refused to reveal whether he had been inoculated against Covid-19, saying in October it was “a private matter and an inappropriate inquiry” and warning he could miss the Australian Open if forced to disclose it.

Why was he granted a medical exemption to play?

Due to medical confidentiality, we will only find out for sure if he discloses the reason. However, speculation is rife that he applied under rules permitting those to have contracted Covid-19 in the previous six months to enter Australia regardless of whether they had been jabbed. That would be highly controversial in his case as he would have had plenty of opportunities to have been vaccinated last year. Letters have also emerged that show Tennis Australia was warned twice in November that previous infection would not be enough to grant quarantine-free entry to the country.

Why was he refused entry to Australia?

The Australian Border Force announced Djokovic had “failed to provide appropriate evidence to meet the entry requirements to Australia”. The announcement came amid claims he had applied for the wrong kind of visa for someone seeking entry using a medical exemption and that he provided insufficient evidence to support the granting of it. The exemption had been issued by two panels of medical experts operating in the state of Victoria rather than by the federal government or the ABF. It is unclear what evidence he could have provided to prove definitively he recently had the virus.

Will he be deported?

Djokovic has been granted a temporary stay of execution after he went to court to overturn the decision to deport him. A hearing into the matter will take place on Monday. In the meantime, he is being held in an immigration hotel in Melbourne. The Australian Open begins a week after the hearing and if a final decision is not made before then, Djokovic’s defence of his crown will be wrecked regardless.

Will he be allowed to return to Australia?

Those who have their visas cancelled, as Djokovic has, risk being banned from returning to Australia for three years. That would be a disaster for his bid to end his career with a record number of grand slams given he has proven almost unbeatable at the Australian Open, winning almost half his majors there.

What about the other slams?

Djokovic could face similar problems at the French Open after France announced a new rule requiring all sportspeople there to be vaccinated against Covid-19 – although it is unclear if this will apply to foreign stars. Wimbledon should prove his salvation, with the Government showing no sign of scrapping its own elite sport exemption and the All England Club certain not to impose tougher measures unilaterally. The same could apply for the US Open.

Was anyone else granted medical exemptions for the Australian Open?

According to Tennis Australia, a “handful” of players and support staff received exemptions. The ABF was on Thursday said to be investigating their immigration status amid accusations a public outcry against the exemption granted to Djokovic had seen him unfairly singled out.

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