Tag: Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic’s Australian visa CANCELLED, faces 3-year ban

Australia’s government cancelled Novak Djokovic’s visa for a second time on Friday as it sought to deport the tennis superstar after he arrived in the country without a Covid-19 vaccine.

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said he acted on “health and good order grounds on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so”.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government “is firmly committed to protecting Australia’s borders, particularly in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Hawke said in a statement.

The cancellation effectively means Djokovic would be barred from a new Australian visa for three years, except under certain circumstances.

The visa decision put the Serbian world number one’s dream of a 10th Australian Open title and a record 21st Grand Slam in peril.

Djokovic is the tournament’s top seed and had been practising on the Melbourne Park courts a few hours earlier.

The megastar flew into Melbourne airport on January 5 claiming a vaccine exemption because of a positive PCR test result on December 16.

Border agents rejected his exemption, tore up his visa and placed him in a notorious Melbourne detention centre where he spent four nights.

The Australian government insists a recent infection does not qualify as a vaccine exemption for foreign nationals trying to enter the country.

Djokovic’s top-flight legal team dramatically overturned the visa decision because border officials at the airport had failed to give him the agreed time to respond.

The visa battle with Djokovic is politically charged in Australia, which has endured nearly two years of some of the toughest coronavirus restrictions in the world.

General elections must be called by May.

Some tennis players say Djokovic should be allowed to play, but not all have been supportive.

World number four Stefanos Tsitsipas criticised his behaviour.

“For sure he has been playing by his own rules,” Tsitsipas said in an interview with Indian broadcaster WION.

Nearly everyone in the Australian Open had been vaccinated, Tsitsipas said. But others “chose to follow their own way which kind of makes the majority look like they’re all fools”.

As the Omicron variant raced through Australia’s population, Djokovic’s actions came under greater scrutiny.

The tennis ace described reports about post-infection outings without a mask in Serbia as “misinformation” in an Instagram post Wednesday.

On the day of his claimed positive test in Serbia, he attended a ceremony to honour him with stamps bearing his image. The following day he attended a youth tennis event. He appeared at both apparently without a mask.

Novak Djokovic said he only received the PCR test result after going to the children’s tennis event on December 17.

But he admitted that he also went ahead with an interview with French sports daily L’Equipe on December 18.

“On reflection, this was an error of judgement and I accept that I should have rescheduled this commitment,” Djokovic said.

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

The tennis star also admitted to a mistake on his Australian travel declaration, in which a box was ticked indicating that he had not, or would not, travel in the 14 days before flying to Melbourne.

In fact, social media posts and reports show he flew from Serbia to Spain during that period.

Novak Djokovic blamed his support team for this.

“My agent sincerely apologises for the administrative mistake in ticking the incorrect box,” he said.

As Covid-related hospitalisations rise in Melbourne, the Victorian state government said on Thursday it would cap capacity at the Australian Open at 50 percent.

Novak Djokovic included in Australian Open draw as visa decision looms

Tennis world No1 Novak Djokovic was included in the Australian Open official draw on Thursday, although uncertainty remained about whether the government will cancel the top seed’s visa for a second time.

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke is weighing exercising his discretionary power to revoke Djokovic’s visa over concern about the star’s medical exemption from Australia’s Covid-19 vaccination requirements.

The 34-year-old defending champion, who was out practicing at the Rod Laver Arena earlier on Thursday, drew unseeded fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic for his opening round match, expected to be played on Monday or Tuesday.

Organiser Tennis Australia had delayed the official draw for more than an hour, without saying why.

The controversy has assumed an importance that goes beyond tennis: it has intensified a global debate over the rights of the unvaccinated and become a tricky political issue for Prime Minister Scott Morrison as he campaigns for re-election.

Australia is due to hold an election by May, and while Morrison’s government has won support at home for its tough stance on border security before and during the pandemic, it has not escaped criticism over the botched handling of Djokovic’s visa.

Morrison declined to comment on Djokovic’s visa on Thursday.

Djokovic, a vaccine skeptic, fuelled widespread anger in Australia last week when he announced he was heading to Melbourne for the Australian Open with a medical exemption from requirements for visitors to be inoculated against Covid-19.

On his arrival, Australian Border Force officials decided his exemption was invalid and he was held alongside asylum-seekers at an immigration detention hotel for several days.

A court on Monday allowed him to stay on the grounds that officials had been “unreasonable” in the way they handled his interview in a seven-hour process in the middle of the night.

The government must now decide whether to let Djokovic remain and bid for a record 21st major title.

MISTAKES MADE

Djokovic’s cause was not helped by a mistake in his entry declaration, on which a box stating he had not travelled abroad in the two weeks prior to leaving for Australia was ticked.

In fact, he had gone to Spain from Serbia.

Djokovic attributed the error to his agent and acknowledged he also should have rescheduled an interview and photoshoot for a French newspaper on December 18 while infected with Covid-19.

Fans, including many Serbian Australians, gave him noisy support when he was detained.

Anti-vaxxers have hailed him as a hero and his family has portrayed him as a champion of individual rights.

But Djokovic may face hostility from the crowd if and when he walks out on court.

There is widespread anger over the saga among Australians, who have a 90% vaccination rate among adults after enduring some of the world’s longest lockdowns aimed at curbing the pandemic.

Crowds at the Open’s main arenas will be capped at 50% capacity and masks will be mandatory for all spectators under updated Covid-19 restrictions announced on Thursday as authorities battle a surge of cases caused by the Omicron variant.

“I don’t like his arrogance,” Teyhan Ismain, a Melbourne resident, said on Wednesday.

“It does seem that he’s been telling a few fibs too. So I think he should just probably go back.”

There may also be resentment in the dressing room, where all but three of the top 100 men are inoculated.

Tennis great Martina Navratilova told Australian television Djokovic should “suck it up” and return home.

“The bottom line is, sometimes your personal beliefs have to be trumped by what’s good for the greater good, for those around you, for your peers,” she told Seven’s Sunrise programme.

“You have two choices, get vaccinated or just don’t go play.”

Novak Djokovic wins court case against deportation, BUT it might not be the end.

In a dramatic development on Monday, Djokovic has won his court case, with an Australian judge ordering his release from a detention centre ahead of the Australian Open.

READ | Djokovic wins deportation delay after Australia cancels Visa

There have been numerous twists and turns ever since an unvaccinated Djokovic arrived in Australia, only to be sent into a quarantine detention centre after it was deemed that he did not meet the necessary requirements to enter the country.

The world No 1 tennis star was set to be deported from Australia, but he has now won his appeal and will be released from detention within the next 30 minutes, with his belongings and passport returned to him.

In deciding to squash the decision to cancel his visa, Judge Kelly said it appeared that Djokovic had received the required medical exemption from Covid-19 vaccination before he travelled to Melbourne for the Australian Open and that he presented evidence of that when he landed.

“The point that I am somewhat agitated about is what more could this man have done?” Judge Kelly said as Djokovic’s lawyers challenged the government’s decision to revoke his visa.

Djokovic was earlier whisked out of the quarantine facility in a white van following an order from judge Anthony Kelly in the wake of numerous technical issues with the live stream.

The 34-year-old Serbian is not vaccinated and was detained upon arrival in Australia on Thursday after authorities said he did not meet entry requirements.

AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT MAY YET ORDER DJOKOVIC DEPORTED

Djokovic has been detained at a hotel used to house refugees and is without access to his team or any tennis facilities, but will now dramatically return to preparing for the tournament.

Yet, despite lawyers laid out their case as to why he should remain in the country, the government is now arguing why he should still be deported.

 

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