Djokovic back in detention, continues to fight deportation


Novak Djokovic was back in immigration detention Saturday after his authorized problem to keep away from being deported from Australia for being unvaccinated for COVID-19 was moved to greater court docket.

A Federal Court listening to has been scheduled for Sunday, a day earlier than the boys’s No. 1-ranked tennis participant and nine-time Australian Open champion was due to start his title protection on the first Grand Slam tennis match of the 12 months.

Djokovic and his legal professionals had a morning assembly with immigration officers and, by mid-afternoon, Australian media reported the tennis star was taken back into detention. Television footage confirmed the 34-year-old Serb carrying a face masks as he sat in a car close to an immigration detention lodge.

Defending males’s champion Serbia’s Novak Djokovic gestures throughout a apply session on Margaret Court Arena forward of the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022.
(AP Photo/Mark Baker)


He spent 4 nights confined to a lodge close to downtown Melbourne earlier than being launched final Monday when he received a court docket problem on procedural grounds towards his first visa cancellation.

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke on Friday blocked the visa, which was initially revoked when he landed at a Melbourne airport on Jan. 5.

Deportation from Australia can lead to a three-year ban on returning to the nation, though that could be waived, relying on the circumstances.

Djokovic has acknowledged that his journey declaration was incorrect as a result of it failed to point out that he’d been in a number of nations in the two-week interval earlier than his arrival in Australia.

But that wasn’t why Hawke determined that deporting Djokovic was in the general public curiosity.

Lawyers for Djokovic filed paperwork in court docket that exposed Hawke had acknowledged that the tennis star “is perceived by some as a talisman of a community of anti-vaccination sentiment.”


Australia has one of many highest COVID-19 vaccination charges in the world.

But the minister stated Djokovic’s presence in Australia could also be a threat to the well being and “good order” of the Australian public and “may be counterproductive to efforts at vaccination by others in Australia.”

The Health Department suggested that Djokovic was a “low” threat of transmitting COVID-19 and a “very low” threat of transmitting the illness on the Australian Open.”

The minister cited feedback Djokovic made in April 2020 that he was “opposed to vaccination” and had wouldn’t need to be pressured by somebody to take a vaccine to compete.

Djokovic’s legal professionals argued that the minister had cited no proof that Djokovic’s presence in Australia might “foster anti-vaccination sentiment.”

Hundreds of activists held a peaceable rally outdoors the Melbourne Park advanced that hosts the Australian Open, and deliberate one other for Monday.

“We’re at Rod Laver Arena to support Novak. He’s won nine (Australian Open) titles here. Hopefully this will be No. 10 — if he can get out of quarantine and get his visa back,” Harrison McLean, one of many rally organizers, stated. “We’re a peaceful movement, here to raise awareness and support everyone’s freedom of choice.”

Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates winning the third set during his quarterfinal match against Germany's Alexander Zverev.

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates successful the third set throughout his quarterfinal match towards Germany’s Alexander Zverev.
(REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake/File Photo)


On Saturday, Federal Chief Justice James Allsop introduced that he would hear the case with Justices David O’Callaghan and Anthony Besanko.

The resolution for 3 judges to hear the attraction as a substitute of a single choose elevates the significance of the case from the judiciary’s perspective and means any verdict can be much less probably to be appealed.

Djokovic, who has received the final three Australian Open titles, shall be allowed out of lodge detention on Sunday to go to his legal professionals’ workplaces for the video court docket listening to.

He is looking for a file twenty first Grand Slam singles title. He is at present tied with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer for probably the most by a person in historical past.

In a put up on social media Wednesday that constituted his most in depth public feedback but on the episode, Djokovic blamed his agent for checking the mistaken field on his journey doc, calling it “a human error and certainly not deliberate.”

In that very same put up, Djokovic stated he went forward with an interview and a photograph shoot with a French newspaper in Serbia regardless of understanding he’d examined constructive for COVID-19. Djokovic has been making an attempt to use what he says was a constructive check taken on Dec. 16 to justify a medical exemption that might permit him to keep away from the vaccine requirement on the grounds that he already had COVID-19.

In canceling Djokovic’ visa, Hawke stated Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s authorities “is firmly committed to protecting Australia’s borders, particularly in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Serbia's Novak Djokovic in action during his match against Croatia's Marin Cilic.

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic in motion throughout his match towards Croatia’s Marin Cilic.
(REUTERS/Susana Vera)


The episode has touched a nerve in Australia, and significantly in Victoria state, the place locals went via greater than 260 days of lockdowns through the worst of the pandemic.

Australia faces a large surge in virus instances pushed by the extremely transmissible omicron variant. On Friday, the nation reported 130,000 new instances, together with almost 35,000 in Victoria state. Although many contaminated folks aren’t getting as sick as they did in earlier outbreaks, the surge remains to be placing extreme pressure on the well being system and disrupting provide chains.

Djokovic’s supporters in Serbia have been dismayed by the visa cancellations. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has accused the Australian authorities of “harassing” and “maltreating” Djokovic and requested whether or not Morrison’s authorities is simply attempting to rating political factors forward of upcoming elections.

“Why didn’t you return him back right away, or tell him it was impossible to get a visa?” Vucic requested the Australian authorities in a social media tackle. “Why are you harassing him and why are you maltreating not only him, but his family and an entire nation that is free and proud.”

Everyone on the Australian Open is required to be vaccinated.

According to Grand Slam guidelines, if Djokovic is pressured to pull out of the match earlier than the order of play for Day 1 is introduced, No. 5 seed Andrey Rublev would transfer into Djokovic’s spot in the bracket.

If Djokovic withdraws from the match after Monday’s schedule is launched, he would get replaced in the sphere by what’s generally known as a “lucky loser” — a participant who loses in the qualifying match however will get into the primary draw due to one other participant’s exit earlier than competitors has began.

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