Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic was denied entry into Australia on Wednesday after his visa was canceled, and will be flying out of the country on Thursday, The Guardian reports.
Djokovic is a vocal opponent of vaccinations, and before flying into Melbourne on Wednesday for the Australian Open, said he received a medical exemption from the requirement that players be vaccinated against COVID-19. Reuters reports that Djokovic's team applied for the wrong type of visa, and after this was realized, the local government of Victoria, where the Open is played, said it wouldn't support his application.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic shared on social media that he has spoken with Djokovic, and told him "that the whole of Serbia is with him and that our bodies are doing everything to see that the harassment of the world's best tennis player is brought to an end immediately." Djokovic's father, Srdjan, claimed to Serbian media outlets that his son is in a room at the Melbourne airport under armed guard.
Before Djokovic arrived in Australia, there was backlash against the federal government's decision to grant the tennis player a medical exemption from vaccination. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said earlier on Wednesday there would be "no special rules" for Djokovic, and if there was insufficient evidence of a medical exemption, "he'll be on the next plane home."
Australia is experiencing a COVID-19 surge fueled by the highly contagious Omicron variant, with the number of daily cases hitting a record high for the third day in a row on Wednesday.