Novak Djokovic has been turned away from Australia because he has a vaccine exemption. World No. 1 tennis player Novak Djokovic spent all day Wednesday on a flight from Dubai to Australia. This trip was supposed to start his defence of the Australian Open singles crown.

Before leaving the country, he was held for 10 hours at a Melbourne airport over the validity of his visa and questions about the evidence for a coronavirus vaccine exemption. He was kept in a room overnight. Tennis star Novak Djokovic was supposed to be able to play in the Australian Open even though he hasn’t been vaccinated. The exemption was supposed to let him do that.

This is what happened: Djokovic didn’t leave the country right away. On Thursday, his team filed a lawsuit against the decision. A spokesman for the tennis player didn’t answer questions right away.

He went from getting last-minute permission to play in the Open to flying across the world and being told by the prime minister of Australia that he wasn’t welcome in the country in less than 24 hours.

President Aleksandar Vucic of Serbia even got in on the action. He spoke with Djokovic and criticised the Australian government for how they treated his country’s biggest sports star.

The pandemic has done a lot of damage to sports over the last two years. The Tokyo Summer Olympics were put back a year. Some of the most important events took place in stadiums that were not filled with people Star players have been put in quarantine before their games because they have the virus.

Djokovic, one of the most controversial people in tennis, was a match for any of them. In one of the world’s richest countries, a sports star and one of the world’s most powerful leaders got into a fight. The government, the media and even some of the other players were all against it.

Australia, where egalitarianism is a big deal, is likely to be a hot spot in the debate about vaccines and how the pandemic should be managed now. “The tennis,” as the Open is called, is also very popular with a lot of people who love sports.

A statement from the Australian Border Force on Thursday said they would “continue to make sure that those who come to our border follow our laws and rules.” In this case, the ABF can say that Djokovic didn’t show enough proof to get into Australia, so his visa has been revoked.

In his career, Djokovic has had a lot of controversy, but this one was the most painful for him. Most of the time, it was because of the way he acts off the court.

Djokovic has never been afraid to speak out about his unconventional views on science and medicine. For example, he once said that prayer and belief could help clean up toxic water. He has said many times that he doesn’t like vaccine mandates, saying that vaccination is a private and personal decision that should not be forced. This week, he didn’t say whether he’d been vaccinated, but he didn’t say until now.

On Twitter on Tuesday, he said that he had been granted a medical exemption from the rule that all people who come to Australia must be vaccinated or quarantined for 14 days. It was later that the man left Dubai and took a plane that was going to Australia from Dubai.

Craig Tiley, the CEO of Tennis Australia, said later that day that players who wanted an exemption from the rules had to meet with two groups of medical experts. The redaction of personal information was part of the process to keep it private.

Fair and independent rules were set up for evaluating medical exemption applications, Tiley said. They will help us make sure the Australian Open in 2022 is safe and fun for everyone. Every applicant was given a fair chance. This was a big part of the process.

Tiley said on TV Wednesday that 26 players had asked for an exemption, and “a few” had been granted. More than 3,000 people who were coming to Australia for the tournament had been vaccinated, Tiley says. Only a few people were allowed into the country because they had a medical condition or had Covid-19 in the last six months. Australian health officials said last year that a recent infection would not always be enough to get into the country.