After four nights at an immigration detention hotel in Australia, he will appear in court on Monday in a deportation case that has sparked polarizing opinion for the world number one tennis player in his native Serbia.
Djokovic’s visa was revoked after landing at Melbourne airport on Wednesday after Australian border officials determined that he would meet exemption criteria requiring him to meet the current COVID-19 vaccination program to enter the country. does not complete. For all foreign travelers.
His lawyers have submitted court documents as part of his appeal that the tennis ace tested positive for COVID-19 last month and recovered. This was the logic he used to request a medical exemption from the country’s strict vaccination rules.
The process will continue with a virtual visa cancellation appeal hearing, which will take place in Melbourne at 10:00 (23:00 GMT Sunday) at the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia.
According to local press this Sunday, the federal government’s request for more time to prepare its case has been rejected. A request made over the weekend by the Interior Minister, Karen Andrews, sought to postpone the final hearing for two days, just five days before the start of the tournament.
Federal Circuit Court Judge Anthony Kelly denied the request and the case will resume as scheduled on Monday.
In Serbia, his family held a rally in support of him in the capital Belgrade for the third consecutive day on Saturday, and Prime Minister Ana Brnabic assured him of his government’s support in the fight to guarantee him entry into the country. His title at the Australian Open will begin on January 17, just a week after his first major of the year appearance in court.
“We’ve given her a gluten-free diet, as well as exercise equipment, a laptop and a SIM card so she can keep in touch with her family,” Brnabic said. According to the Australian press, immigration officials turned down a request by her personal chef to cook for her during her stay at the immigration hotel.
In his 20 Grand Slam titles, a men’s tennis record he shares with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, Djokovic has won nine at Melbourne Park.
In Djokovic’s perfect world, he would be taking his personal chef’s concoction, working out at the gym and training on the court daily since his arrival, all surrounded by his support group and friends.
But instead he has been confined to a room with guards in the hallway at a modest expat hotel in central Melbourne.
Your case is complicated.
On 1 January, Djokovic received a medical exemption based on information provided to two independent medical societies by the government of the state of Victoria – where Melbourne is located – and tournament organizers. Also, your visa was approved electronically.
But border officials deemed the state’s distribution invalid, allowing in people who tested positive for the coronavirus in the past six months. This would have allowed them to enter the tournament, but not to meet the demands of the Australian Border Patrol.
Australian media have reported details of court documents, which are expected to be presented as evidence on Monday. They show the tennis player received a letter from Tennis Australia’s chief medical officer on 30 December stating that he had received a ‘medical exemption for COVID vaccination’ based on a recent recovery from COVID.
According to the document, the date of the first positive for Djokovic, 34, was December 16, 2021, and “he had no fever or respiratory symptoms in the past 72 hours.”
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who said “the rules are the rules” and that travelers are responsible for complying with border requirements, has been accused of using the case to bolster his battered popularity ahead of the impending election.
Djokovic’s situation has made Serbia sure that he is being treated as a prisoner. Tennis players appear to have become the standard-bearer for anti-vaccine groups, including some who have gathered outside hotels.
The organizers of the Australian Open have come under criticism for the ace’s plight, and apparently for good reason.
Tennis Australia, which manages the tournament and organizes logistics for the more than 2,000 participating athletes, teams and referees, reportedly misinterpreted tennis players as acceptable reasons to request exemptions.
Among them, the explanation of overcoming the illness in the past six months may provide them with a safe conduct. Organizers blamed the federal executive for mixed messages on the policy.
Djokovic was one of two athletes detained at the hotel, which also houses refugees and asylum seekers. A third person, who may be an intermediary, left the country voluntarily after being investigated by the border authorities.
The other arrested is Czech Renata Vorasova, 38, who was in the country for a week when an investigation was opened. Her country’s foreign ministry said the experts left voluntarily after deciding she would not appeal the decision.
Monday’s hearing will decide whether Djokovic follows in his footsteps.