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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Novak Djokovic: Australia says tennis star given no visa assurances


Novak Djokovic was given no assurances that a medical exemption would allow him into Australia, lawyers fighting to deport the tennis star have argued.

The Australian government’s court filing also reveals that Djokovic, 34, is unvaccinated.

Non-dual vaccinated foreigners are barred from entering Australia under Covid border rules, unless they have a medical exemption.

Djokovic’s legal team claims that a recent infection qualifies him for an exemption.

Last week, the Serbian tennis player arrived in Melbourne, hoping to defend his Australian Open title.

Instead, he has been detained in an immigration detention centre while his lawyers prepare to file an appeal against Australia’s federal government’s decision to cancel his visa.

The case is scheduled to be heard by a judge on Monday. Tennis Australia has stated that it needs to know if he will be allowed to play by Tuesday in order to schedule his matches for the tournament, which begins on January 17th.

On Saturday, Djokovic’s lawyers submitted a 35-page document arguing that their client fulfilled the criteria for a vaccine exemption certificate because of a recent Covid infection, which was confirmed by a PCR test on 16 December.

However, in a court filing on Sunday, lawyers for Australia’s home office dismissed this as a valid reason.

“There is no evidence that the applicant suffered from ‘acute major medical illness’ in December 2021. He has only stated that he tested positive for COVID-19. This is not the same,” it said, adding that “there is no such thing as a guarantee of entry into Australia by a non-citizen.” “..

It also stated that “the applicant is unvaccinated,” which is “common ground” between the two parties.

Djokovic has previously stated his opposition to vaccination, but he has never publicly stated whether he has received the vaccine.

The news that he had been granted a medical exemption sparked outrage among Australians who had been subjected to some of the world’s most stringent Covid rules.

Because of these controls, families have been separated, and people have missed funerals, births, and weddings. Some rules have been relaxed now that more than 90% of Australia’s over-16 population has been immunised. However, due to current restrictions, some people are still unable to travel interstate or globally.

“I think it’s a disgrace,” Christine Wharton, a Melbourne resident, told ABC earlier this week. “We’ve all done the right thing, we’ve all gotten our jabs and boosters, and we have someone who has come from overseas and has suddenly been exempt and can play.”

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