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HomeSportsDjokovic Poised For Remaining Spherical Of Australian Visa Battle

Djokovic Poised For Remaining Spherical Of Australian Visa Battle

MELBOURNE:Novak Djokovic was poised to take his battle to remain in Australia unvaccinated to a federal court docket on Saturday, after the federal government once more cancelled his visa over COVID-19 entry guidelines and because the clock to this yr’s first tennis main ticked down.

The federal government undertook to not deport the world’s top-ranked participant till the case was over, although he was ordered to return to pre-deportation detention at 8 a.m. on Saturday (2100 GMT on Friday) previous to his listening to.

Hoping the Serbian will nonetheless be capable to start the defence of his Australian Open title on Monday, his authorized workforce submitted their attraction quickly after Immigration Minister Alex Hawke used discretionary powers to revoke the visa.

The attorneys mentioned they’d argue Djokovic’s deportation could possibly be as a lot a risk to public well being, by fanning anti-vaccine sentiment, as letting him keep and exempting him from Australia’s requirement that each one guests be vaccinated.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s authorities has received help at dwelling for its powerful stance on border safety through the pandemic however not escaped criticism for the dealing with of Djokovic’s visa software, and the saga has fuelled a world debate over vaccination rights and obligations.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on Friday criticised Australia’s authorities for what he referred to as the “harassing and bullying (of) … the very best tennis participant ever.”

“(You’ll) never come even close not only to (him), but to any ordinary person in our and your proud nations,” Vucic mentioned on Instagram.

A Serbian well being ministry official defended Djokovic towards doubts over the constructive COVID-19 check the participant used as the idea for his exemption doc, whose QR code German information journal Der Spiegel mentioned had first displayed a unfavorable after which a constructive end result.

Zoran Gojkovic mentioned a ministry evaluation confirmed the doc to be “completely legitimate.”

World tennis’ governing body, the International Tennis Federation, called the situation “disappointing for all involved”, saying international locations’ COVID-19 protocols wanted to be communicated clearly, but additionally reserved criticism for Djokovic.

“Whereas the ITF believes that full vaccination is a private choice, we consider that is the accountable motion we should all take with a purpose to ease restrictions and keep away from such occurrences occurring sooner or later,” it said in a statement.

Djokovic, 34 and bidding for a record 21st Grand Slam title, was told on arrival on Jan. 5 that the medical exemption that enabled him to travel was invalid. A court revoked that decision on procedural grounds.

But Hawke on Friday exercised his prerogative to cancel Djokovic’s visa “on health and good order grounds.”

Hawke mentioned he had thought-about info from Djokovic and the authorities, and that the federal government was “firmly dedicated to defending Australia’s borders, significantly in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic”.

Judge Anthony Kelly, who revoked the first cancellation, said the government had agreed not to deport Djokovic – who has opposed compulsory vaccination but not campaigned against vaccination in general – before the case concluded, and that the player could meet his lawyers.


The controversy has become a political touchstone for Morrison as he prepares for an election due by May.

“Australians have made many sacrifices during this pandemic, and they rightly expect the result of those sacrifices to be protected,” he mentioned in an announcement. “That is what the minister is doing in taking this motion right now.”

Australians have endured some of the world’s longest lockdowns, and the country has seen a runaway Omicron outbreak bring nearly a million cases in the last two weeks.

More than 90% of Australian adults are vaccinated, and an online poll by the News Corp media group found that 83% favoured deportation for Djokovic.

His cause was not helped by an incorrect entry declaration, where a box was ticked stating he had not travelled abroad in the two weeks before leaving for Australia.

In fact, he had travelled between Spain and Serbia.

Djokovic blamed the error on his agent and also acknowledged he should not have done an interview and photoshoot for a French newspaper on Dec. 18 while infected with COVID-19.

But the player has been hailed as a hero by anti-vaccination campaigners.


Djokovic’s legal team said the government was arguing that letting him stay in Australia would incite others to refuse vaccination.

One of his lawyers told the court that this was “patently irrational” as a result of Hawke was ignoring the impact that forcibly eradicating “this excessive profile, legally compliant, negligible threat … participant” might have on anti-vax sentiment and public order.

Djokovic, looking relaxed as he practised at a Melbourne Park on Friday, was included in the draw for the open as top seed and is due to face fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic on Monday.

Greek world number four Stefanos Tsitsipas, speaking before Hawke’s decision, said Djokovic was “playing by his own rules” and making vaccinated gamers “appear to be fools”.

In Belgrade, some already appeared resigned to Djokovic missing the tournament.

“He is a role model to all of us, but rules must clearly be set,” Milan Majstorovic informed Reuters TV. “I’m uncertain how large the involvement of the politics is in that.”

Another passer-by, Ana Bojic, said: “He can either vaccinate to remain world number one – or he can be stubborn and end his career.”

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