Djokovic spends Orthodox Christmas in Australian detention amid legal fight

Via Courtney Walsh and Cordelia Hsu

MELBOURNE – Global primary Novak Djokovic spent Orthodox Christmas in Australian immigration detention on Friday as his lawyers fight a government resolution to take away him from the country that would scupper his shot at a file-breaking 21st Grand Slam.

As The row escalated, officers stated different players who entered the rustic underneath the similar exemption granted to Djokovic were underneath research. 

Border officials detained Djokovic at Melbourne’s airport while he arrived on Wednesday night time and revoked the visa he were granted on the foundation of a scientific exemption from Australia’s strict COVID-19 vaccination requirements.

The initial choice to grant access to Djokovic used to be met with outrage in Australia, a country with an grownup vaccination charge of greater than NINETY% that may be scuffling with its worst surge in infections since the pandemic began.

The Australian executive pushed back on Friday against ideas via Serbian supporters, together with Djokovic’s family, that the megastar player used to be effectively a prisoner, stressing he’s free to go away the rustic at any time.

“Mr. Djokovic isn’t being held captive in Australia, he’s loose to depart at any time that he chooses to accomplish that and Border Pressure will actually facilitate that,” Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews informed reporters.

Djokovic’s legal professionals successfully scrambled for urgent criminal acclaim for him to stay in the country till an entire court listening to in his case against the federal govt on Monday.

The public hearing is anticipated to reveal more details about the exemption granted to Djokovic and the documentation he equipped to immigration officers at the border to make stronger it.

The 34-year-vintage has now not discovered the grounds for the exemption and has persistently refused to disclose his vaccination standing, whilst publicly criticising necessary vaccines.

As he used to be restricted for a 2d day to his room within the modest Park Lodge, where several Afghan immigration detainees have been held for months, Djokovic’s plight was once met with a mixed reaction from his opponents in elite tennis.

Former World No. 1 and -time Australian Open champion Boris Becker mentioned Djokovic was “making a big mistake” along with his anti-vaccination stance.

“it’s one who threatens what is still of his occupation and his likelihood to cement himself as the largest player of all time,” Becker wrote in an opinion piece within the Daily Mail newspaper.

Spanish champion Rafael Nadal instructed journalists in Melbourne he felt sorry for his rival “however at the same time, he knew the conditions for the reason that so much of months ago.”

Then Again, American tennis participant Tennys Sandgren sent his improve.

“Novak, keep sturdy, friend,” Sandgren told Reuters. “Wish you get out of there soon.”

Australia’s Nick Kyrgios said he believed in vaccination “however how we’re handling Novak’s state of affairs is bad, in point of fact dangerous.”

Djokovic’s wife, Jelena, published a photo on Instagram of the couple embracing on a beach to mark Orthodox Christmas on Friday, pronouncing “the only regulation that we should always all recognize throughout each border is love and appreciate for an additional person.”

Djokovic’s family held an emotional news conference at his restaurant in Belgrade on Thursday before protesting in entrance of parliament, with his father Srdjan saying “they are stomping in all places Novak to stomp far and wide Serbia.”

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic accused the Australian govt of harassment and persecution, allegations rejected by means of Canberra.


Some critics say High Minister Scott Morrison is using the problem to spice up his pandemic-preventing credentials with an election looming in coming months amid report day by day infections, claims the government denies.

Djokovic gets his day in a court on Monday, whilst a pass judgement on makes an attempt to solve the complexities of Australia’s federal system, below which states and territories can factor vaccine exemptions, but the federal government controls global borders and will veto those exemptions.

As Australia’s daily COVID-19 infections hit a 5th consecutive document high, overwhelming hospitals and inflicting labour shortages, Morrison’s conservative executive and the left-leaning Victoria state executive squabbled over responsibility for the location.

Djokovic had received permission to enter Victoria and not using a vaccination from the state government, which does not have authority to issue visas to global guests. At The Same Time As the explanation for his medical exemption was once now not officially launched, The Age newspaper suggested it was as a result of he had contracted COVID-19 in the past six months.

Vaccines don’t seem to be obligatory in Australia, but they are required for a variety of activities.


Morrison stated Tennis Australia had been instructed weeks in the past that a recent infection did not meet the standards for exemption, even though a government job power that provides guidance on such matters had recommended that an infection within the earlier six months need to be enough to qualify.

Tennis Australia and Victoria executive officials stated Djokovic had gained no preferential treatment, including that he was once among “a handful” of approvals for exemptions in an nameless and unbiased evaluation of 26 applications.

With the match kicking off on Jan. 17, Andrews showed Australian Border Power was assessing the credentials of two others who entered the country under the similar exemption granted to Djokovic. 

A supply aware of the matter told Reuters there was a 3rd participant and exemptions might have been granted to other gamers or officers who’re but to arrive in Australia.

Tennis Australia has no longer commented at the topic due to the fact Djokovic used to be detained.

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