Australian Open: Novak Djokovic Detained Ahead of Deportation Hearing
Novak Djokovic is still on the schedule to play the Australian Open on 17 January, in Melbourne.
Novak Djokovic was detained on Saturday, 15 January, in Australia ahead of a court hearing that will decide if he can stay in the country unvaccinated. The men's world number one is in the country, looking to win a record 10th Australian Open title.
Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke had, on Friday, used his discretionary power to cancel Djokovic's visa after a Federal Court had overturned the earlier cancellation of his visa, on Monday. However, with Djokovic's lawyers filing an appeal, the Serbian will be part of a court hearing on Sunday before which he was interviewed on Saturday morning and sent back to the detention hotel.
Djokovic entered Australia on a medical exemption with the country's immigration laws not allowing anyone not fully vaccinated to enter the country.
However, he claimed he had tested positive for COVID-19 on 16 December which was the grounds for the medical exemption granted to him. On his arrival in Melbourne on 5 January though, Djokovic was detained by the immigration authorities and his visa cancelled.
That decision was overturned by a Judge on Tuesday but Friday's call by the immigration minister has been made on 'health and good order grounds.'
Djokovic is still on the schedule to play the Australian Open on 17 January, in Melbourne.
Support From Serbian President
Even as Djokovic spends Saturday at the detention hotel, Serbian President Aleksander Vucic has spoken out criticised the Australian government for "mistreating" the men's world number one, saying that not just his family but the entire nation was being undermined by the treatment being meted out to the winner of 20 Grand Slam titles.
In a video posted on social media, Vucic said, "Why are you mistreating him (Djokovic), why are you taking it out not only on him but also on his family and the whole nation. If you wanted to forbid Novak Djokovic to win the (Australian Open) trophy for the 10th time, why didn't you return him immediately, why didn't you tell him that it was impossible to get a visa?" Vucic began, via the ABC.
"Why do you mistreat him, why do you torture him, as well as his family and (a) nation that is free and proud? Is all this necessary to win the elections and please your public?
"A president of a small country has appeared who has the courage to say that to one great prime minister of a large country -- I can because I'm telling the truth and you know I'm telling the truth. They often preach to us about the rule of law.
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