Novak Djokovic must wait days for deportation decision over Australia COVID

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Novak Djokovic will have to wait until Monday to discover whether he can play in the Australian Open after being denied entry to the country over COVID vaccination rules.

Djokovic faces deportation after his visa application was cancelled – having thought he could enter Australia through a medical exemption to avoid COVID vaccination.

A court hearing today was expected to return a decision on his fate, but a judge adjourned proceedings until 10am on Monday local time.

Novak Djokovic pictured competing at last year's Australian Open
Image:
Novak Djokovic pictured competing at last year’s Australian Open

The 34-year-old Serbian player appealed the decision to deny him entry after being held up for several hours at Melbourne Airport.

The world number one will stay in immigration detention until the hearing.

Evidence for medical exemption ‘found to be insufficient’

Australia’s Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, said Djokovic had failed to provide sufficient proof to receive a medical exemption to COVID-19 vaccination rules.

“All I can say is that the evidence (for) medical exemption that was provided was found to be insufficient,” Mr Morrison said.

He added that Djokovic had not been “singled out” for scrutiny.

Djokovic was under armed guard and alone in a room at Melbourne Airport as he waited to hear whether he would be allowed into the country, his father said.

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Scott Morrison says the tennis star failed to meet the requirements for medical exemption.

The star, who has repeatedly refused to say whether he has received a coronavirus vaccine, said on Tuesday he had been granted an exemption to allow him to compete in the Australian Open.

Serbia’s president criticises ‘harassment’

Serbia’s president, Aleksandar Vucic, criticised the “harassment”, saying he had spoken to Djokovic on the phone and offered his support.

Mr Vucic said: “I told our Novak that the whole of Serbia is with him and that our bodies are doing everything to see that the harassment of the world’s best tennis player is brought to an end immediately.

“In line with all norms of international law, Serbia will fight for Novak, truth and justice. Novak is strong, as we all know.”

A protestor holds signs outside Park Hotel, where Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic is believed to be staying
Image:
A protestor holds signs outside Park Hotel, where Djokovic is believed to be staying

Two-time quarterfinalist Tennys Sandgren, who is not playing the Australian Open this year because of the vaccination requirement, tweeted: “Just to be crystal clear here. 2 separate medical boards approved his exemption. And politicians are stopping it. Australia doesn’t deserve to host a grand slam.”

Paul McNamee, who was director of the Australian Open for 12 years, said: “He played by the rules, he got his exemption, he’s a nine-time champion, whether people like it or…



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