The Novak Djokovic soap opera in Australia continues. Pending a court decision on his case, the world number 1 in tennis, who is not vaccinated against Covid-19, was returned to administrative detention on Saturday January 15, according to court documents. The Serb, whose visa was again canceled by Australia on Friday, had obtained the suspension of his expulsion.
The presence in Australia of Djokovic, who is not vaccinated against Covid-19, “could encourage anti-vaccination sentiment”, estimated the Australian authorities in a brief presented to the courts, believing that the Serb should be expelled from the country.
On Friday during a hearing before a judge, the representative of the Australian government had indicated that the 34-year-old player would not be deported to the border before justice had definitively ruled on his request to block his deportation. But he had warned that Djokovic would have to wait for this decision in administrative detention.
It is the Australian federal justice which is now in charge of the case, at the request of the Melbourne judge on Friday who had been seized in the first place by the tennis player’s lawyers. This change of court is likely to slow down the procedure, estimated the defenders of Djokovic.
The tournament starts on Monday
Djokovic has admitted to incorrectly filling out his entry declaration to Australia, and not respecting the rules of isolation after he tested positive for Covid-19 in December – a contamination which he hoped would allow him to benefit from an exemption to enter Australia without being vaccinated.
“Nole” had been turned back on his arrival in Melbourne on January 5 and placed in a detention center. But his lawyers had obtained from a judge on January 10 that he restore his visa and order his immediate release.
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke, using his discretion in the matter, however, canceled Djokovic’s visa again on Friday. « On health and public order bases ».
The 34-year-old was planning to run for a 10and title at the Australian Open, which kicks off Monday, and a 21and Grand Slam victory, which would be a record. He is supposed to face his compatriot Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round.
Ten days of imbroglio
January 4: Novak Djokovic, who then never communicated on his vaccination status, announces on social networks that he is flying to Australia, benefiting from a » exemption » to participate in the Australian Open (January 17-30), where he is aiming for a 10and victory and a 21and crowned in a Grand Slam tournament, a record.
January 5: The Serb is stranded by border police on his arrival at Melbourne airport and sees his visa canceled for failing to provide « The appropriate evidence » to enter Australia.
January 6: Djokovic files an appeal against the cancellation of his visa and his deportation. The latter is suspended and the player is placed in a detention center.
January 8: His lawyers say he has obtained a vaccination exemption from the Australian Tennis Federation and the State of Victoria because he tested positive for Covid-19 on December 16.
January 10: A judge orders the immediate release of Novak Djokovic from the detention center, ruling that the cancellation of his visa by the federal authorities was not legal.
January 14: Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke announces he has canceled visa for world number one « On health and public order grounds, on the grounds that it was in the public interest to do so ». The Serb must return to administrative detention.