US Unvaxxed swimmer welcomed to Australia months after Djokovic row

Michael Andrew will be free to participate in ‘Duel in the Pool’ event – six months after Novak Djokovic’s ugly deportation saga

American swimmer Michael Andrew is set to compete for his country in the ‘Duel in the Pool’ clash against Australia in Sydney this week, after the unvaccinated star was able to take advantage of recently eased entry requirements. The situation has brought to light the expulsion of Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic from Australia.

Andrew, 23, will line up for Team USA in the highly anticipated showdown with rival swimming powerhouses Australia.

Returning after a seven-year hiatus, ‘Duel in the Pool’ will see three days of events at indoor and outdoor venues, including the iconic Bondi Beach as well as the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatics Centre.

But Andrew’s participation has come under particular scrutiny, after the swimmer faced media heat in his native country last summer for competing in the Tokyo Olympics when he was not was not vaccinated.

Defending his decision, Andrew said at the time that he “I didn’t want to put anything in my body that I didn’t know how I would potentially react to.”

“As a top athlete, everything we do is very calculated. … I didn’t want to risk days off, because there are times when, if you take the vaccine, you have to face days off,” said the Minnesota-born swimmer.

It is reported that Andrew has not changed position since Tokyo, where he was part of the USA team that won gold in the 4x100m medley relay.

Just two months ago, Andrew’s position would have ruled him out of entering Australia under the country’s strict vaccination requirements for non-citizens.

However, authorities Down Under relaxed their rules in July, no longer requiring visitors to declare their Covid vaccination status or obtain a travel exemption.

“As more and more of us travel abroad and as we grow more confident in managing our Covid risk, our airports are getting busier,”said Australian Home Secretary Clare O’Neil.

“Removing these requirements will not only reduce delays at our airports, but encourage more visitors and skilled workers to choose Australia as their destination.”

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Serbs turn to Biden over Djokovic entry ban

It helped people like Andrew, but came too late for Serbian tennis star Djokovic.

The 21-time Grand Slam winner was infamously denied the chance to defend his Australian Open title in January after being sent off in a row due to his vaccination status.

Despite traveling to Australia on a medical exemption to compete in Melbourne after recovering from a coronavirus infection, Djokovic has been held at an immigration center in a long saga that has seen him released, only to be detained again and ultimately expelled from the country after government authorities intervened.

Djokovic, 35, has since played at Roland Garros and Wimbledon – winning the latter tournament – but finds himself barred from the US Open later this month because US border rules bar entry to unvaccinated foreigners .

This situation has been heavily criticized by the likes of American tennis legend John McEnroe, who has described it as “BS” and accused the politicians of “too awkward.”

Djokovic continues to train fully and remains hopeful of a late entry to the New York Grand Slam if the rules are relaxed, although that seems unlikely. The Serb has always said he’s ready to give up the titles rather than give in and get a shot.

READ MORE: Djokovic’s wife slams magazine as vaccine row swirls

Djokovic could also be forced to miss the 2023 and 2024 Australian Open, with expulsion from the country usually resulting in a three-year ban on re-applying for a visa.

It has been suggested, however, that Australian authorities could step in to ensure he is allowed to attend next year’s event.


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