Australia to detain Novak Djokovic after cancelling visa

Australia says it is going to detain Novak Djokovic this weekend after once more stripping him of his visa, in a dramatic setback to the tennis world primary.

On this file photograph taken on 17 November 2021, Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates after defeating Russia’s Andrey Rublev throughout their first spherical singles match of the ATP Finals on the Pala Alpitour venue in Turin. Image: Marco BERTORELLO/AFP

MELBOURNE – Australia mentioned on Friday it is going to detain Novak Djokovic this weekend after once more stripping him of his visa, in a dramatic setback to the tennis world primary’s objective of successful a report twenty first Grand Slam.

As time slips away earlier than the Australian Open begins Monday, the nine-time title holder heard in an emergency listening to that he might be in immigration detention from Saturday morning – not on the Melbourne Park tennis courts.

The megastar’s bid to keep away from deportation might be heard by Australia’s Federal Court docket at 10:15am on Saturday.

The federal government has agreed to not deport the 34-year-old Serbian tennis ace till the listening to is over, barrister Stephen Lloyd informed an emergency late-night session of the federal circuit court docket.

However Djokovic is predicted to attend authorities workplaces at 8am Saturday to be positioned in detention.

He can be allowed out of detention to observe on-line court docket listening to at his solicitors’ workplaces, however solely below the supervision of Australian Border Drive officers, the barrister mentioned.

It’s unclear clear if Djokovic will select to remain and combat the case if he believes he’s unable to compete within the Australian Open.

Australia’s conservative authorities, defeated as soon as within the courts, invoked extraordinary govt powers to tear up his visa once more, this time on public curiosity grounds.

The participant’s barrister Nick Wooden mentioned the federal government had argued that Djokovic’s presence would stir anti-vaccine sentiment in Australia, which is preventing a surge of infections by the Omicron variant.

Djokovic, an avowed COVID-19 vaccine sceptic, is the match’s prime seed and had been practising on the Melbourne Park courts simply hours earlier than Immigration Minister Alex Hawke’s bombshell determination was introduced.


The federal government is “firmly dedicated to defending Australia’s borders, notably in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Hawke mentioned in a press release.

He cited “well being and good order grounds” for the choice and mentioned “it was within the public curiosity to take action”.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison backed the choice: “Australians have made many sacrifices throughout this pandemic, they usually rightly anticipate the results of these sacrifices to be protected.”

The visa cancellation successfully means Djokovic can be barred from acquiring a brand new Australian visa for 3 years, besides below distinctive circumstances.

In Belgrade, his compatriots reacted with shock to the information that his visa had been cancelled once more.

“To say {that a} high-level sportsman like Novak is a hazard to the well being of Australians is simply absurd, it is a scandal,” mentioned 28-year-old native authorities worker Petar Stojanovic.

The star flew into Melbourne airport on 5 January claiming a vaccine exemption due to a constructive PCR take a look at consequence on 16 December.

Border brokers rejected his exemption, revoked his visa and positioned him in a infamous Melbourne detention centre the place he spent 4 nights.

The Australian authorities insists a current an infection doesn’t qualify as a vaccine exemption for overseas nationals attempting to enter the nation.

Djokovic’s top-flight authorized workforce overturned the visa determination within the federal circuit court docket on Monday as a result of border officers on the airport had failed to provide him the agreed time to reply.


Djokovic’s vaccine waiver provoked outrage amongst many Australians who’ve endured almost two years of a few of the hardest coronavirus restrictions on the earth.

Some tennis gamers say Djokovic ought to now be allowed to play, however not all have been supportive.

World quantity 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas criticised his behaviour.

“For positive he has been taking part in by his personal guidelines,” Tsitsipas mentioned in an interview with Indian broadcaster WION.

Practically everybody within the Australian Open had been vaccinated, Tsitsipas mentioned. However others “selected to observe their very own method which type of makes the bulk seem like they’re all fools”.

On Wednesday, Djokovic described reviews about post-infection outings with out a masks in Serbia as “misinformation”.

On the day of his claimed constructive take a look at in Serbia, he attended a ceremony to honour him with stamps bearing his picture. The next day he attended a youth tennis occasion. He appeared at each apparently with out a masks.

Djokovic mentioned in an Instagram submit that he solely acquired the PCR take a look at consequence after going to the youngsters’s tennis occasion on 17 December.

However he admitted that he additionally went forward with an interview with French sports activities day by day L’Equipe on 18 December.

“On reflection, this was an error of judgement and I settle for that I ought to have rescheduled this dedication,” Djokovic mentioned.


The journalist who carried out the L’Equipe interview, Franck Ramella, mentioned he had been unaware on the time of the interview that Djokovic was COVID-positive.

The tennis star additionally admitted to a mistake on his Australian journey declaration, wherein a field was ticked indicating that he had not, or wouldn’t, journey within the 14 days earlier than flying to Melbourne.

The truth is, social media posts and reviews present he flew from Serbia to Spain throughout that interval.

Djokovic blamed his help workforce for this. “My agent sincerely apologises for the executive mistake in ticking the wrong field,” he mentioned.

As COVID-related hospitalisations rise in Melbourne, the Victorian state authorities mentioned Thursday it could cap capability on the Australian Open at 50%.


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