Novak Djokovic is not allowed to leave Australia until he provides documentation proving his permanent residency. The six-time Australian Open champion, who has lived in the country since 2011, was ordered by an immigration officer last week to provide proof of residence or be deported back to Serbia on Monday.
Novak Djokovic spent a day in an immigration detention hotel, awaiting a court judgement and facing the possibility of expulsion from Australia due to a visa application difficulty with COVID-19 vaccination restrictions.
The 20-time major winner from Serbia will spend at least another night, if not the whole weekend, in immigration detention, putting his hopes of competing in this month’s Australian Open in jeopardy.
Djokovic had to go from the practice courts to the law courts on Thursday when his visa was revoked by Australian Border Force officers after they rejected his proof supporting a medical exemption from the country’s stringent COVID-19 vaccination restrictions.
Djokovic, 34, has not said whether or not he is immune to the coronavirus.
Due to a delay in receiving the application for a review of the visa determinations and the interim restriction on Djokovic’s deportation, Federal Circuit Court Judge Anthony Kelly postponed Djokovic’s case until Monday. Djokovic’s lawyer agreed that Djokovic should not be deported until the next hearing.
According to Djokovic’s family, he was the victim of a “political agenda.”
“He’s being held in captivity. They’re trampling on Novak in order to stomp on Serbia and Serbians “Srdjan Djokovic, Djokovic’s father, told reporters in Belgrade on Thursday.
Before Djokovic arrived, it was revealed that the conservative federal government and the left-leaning state government of Victoria had divergent views on what constituted acceptable circumstances for a visitor’s exemption from Australia’s vaccination program.
Djokovic arrived in Melbourne late Wednesday, believing he had Victoria state approval, which would exempt him from the regulations requiring all players, fans, and staff to be fully vaccinated to attend the Australian Open, which begins on Jan. 17.
Entering the competition would have been OK, but evidently not the nation.
Djokovic spent the night after a lengthy journey attempting to persuade officials that he had all of the required documents, but the Australian Border Force released a statement claiming he had failed to fulfill entrance criteria.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said, “The rule is pretty clear.” “A medical exception is required. He didn’t have a medical exemption that was legitimate. We make the decision at the border, and it is enforced there.”
Djokovic’s medical exemption was reviewed by border authorities, who looked “at the integrity and the facts behind it,” according to Health Minister Greg Hunt.
“Morrison and his ilk have dared to go after Novak in the hopes of bringing Serbia to its knees. Serbia has always shown that he is from a proud country “According to Srdjan Djokovic.
“This has nothing to do with sports; it’s all about politics. Novak is the finest player and athlete on the planet, but hundreds of millions of people in the West can’t stand it “he said
Djokovic was taken to a guarded hotel run by immigration officers that also accommodates asylum seekers and refugees on Thursday morning.
“I’ve been saddened by the fact that he’s still being held captive since yesterday. It’s not right. It’s not even close to being human. I’m hoping he’ll come out on top “Dijana Djokovic, Djokovic’s mother, said after chatting with him on the phone from Belgrade. She said, ” “This is a horrible, awful place to stay. If it’s a hotel at all, it’s simply a little immigration hotel.”
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said he talked with Djokovic and that his administration is requesting that he be allowed to move into a home he has leased before Monday and “not remain in that terrible hotel.”
Novak Djokovic has previously expressed doubts about his ability to retain his Australian Open title in 2021. Getty Images/Cameron Spencer
Djokovic, he claimed, has been handled differently than other players.
“I’m concerned this overkill will continue,” Vucic expressed his concern. “When you can’t defeat someone, you do stuff like this.”
Access without a quarantine If Djokovic could have demonstrated he was properly vaccinated against the coronavirus, it wouldn’t have been a problem. Instead, he sought for an exception, which became available just recently when the state of Victoria eased away from a strict no-vaccination, no-play stance.
The exemption’s approval has now been called into question.
The Sydney Morning Herald revealed letters from the Department of Health and the health minister to Tennis Australia in November, indicating that Djokovic failed to fulfill the national threshold for quarantine-free admission, as specified by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation.
When asked about the misunderstanding, Morrison said that it was the responsibility of the person in question to arrive with the proper papers.
The prime minister denied that Djokovic was singled out, although he did accept that other players may be in Australia on the same medical exemption.
He said that “one of the things the Border Force does is act on information to divert their attention to probable arrivals.” “When individuals make public comments about what they claim to have and want to achieve, they attract a lot of attention to themselves.”
“Whether they’re a celebrity, a politician, or a tennis player,” he continued, “they should anticipate to be asked more questions than others before you arrive.”
The medical exemption was designed to enable Djokovic to compete in the Australian Open regardless of his vaccination status, since it was evaluated by two independent expert committees and based on information provided anonymously by participants.
Djokovic has already spoken out against vaccines and has refused to say if he has gotten any coronavirus vaccinations.
This week, the exception has become a heated political subject. Many Australians who were pushed into seclusion or tried to acquire seldom accessible and frequently costly quick antigen testing saw a double standard.
Djokovic’s supporters claimed that he had a right to privacy and freedom of choice, while others questioned what grounds he may have for the exemption.
Tensions have risen as a result of a new outbreak of COVID-19 in the nation. On Thursday, Victoria reported six fatalities and 21,997 new cases, the most daily increase in infections since the epidemic started.
Craig Tiley, the tournament director for the Australian Open, defended the “fully valid application and procedure” on Wednesday, insisting that Djokovic received no preferential treatment.
Only 26 persons associated with the event asked for a medical exemption, and only a “handful” were approved, according to Tiley. Although none of them have been named publicly, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation said that border authorities are now looking into another player and an official.
Acute significant medical issues and a serious adverse response to a prior dosage of COVID-19 vaccination were both acceptable grounds for an exemption. Evidence of a COVID-19 infection during the past six months, which was commonly considered to be acceptable, may suddenly be the sticking point.
After playing in a series of exhibition matches that he scheduled without social distancing during the epidemic, Djokovic tested positive for the coronavirus in June 2020.
This story drew on data from The Associated Press and Reuters.