UPDATE 6/2/22: Novak Djokovic has had his potential deportation postponed thanks to a new court appeal over his visa being cancelled. He was originally set to be deported on Thursday night.
After he was detained by the Australian Border Force when he landed in Melbourne on Wednesday, it was confirmed that he didn’t supply the appropriate evidence requirements for his vaccine exemption and his visa application, and he had his visa cancelled. Now, his lawyers have launched a Federal Circuit Court challenge over his deportation by the Aus government.
The hearings for his case were adjourned twice on Thursday arvo and have now been postponed until Monday. According to News.com.au, it’s likely Djokovic will remain in immigration detention until then.
Tennis Australia’s requested that the matter be settled by Tuesday so it can adequately prep for the Australian Open.
The ABC has reported that lawyers for the federal Minister for Immigration said they wouldn’t oppose an interim injuction which would restrain the federal government from deporting Djokovic on Thursday, as they originally intended to.
ORIGINAL: Novak Djokovic has been detained at Melbourne airport after his visa was rejected, following his exemption to play the Australian Open earlier this week. This serve is powerful and delicious.
Per the Sydney Morning Herald, the unvaccinated Novak has been held at Tullamarine airport after he landed at 11.30pm on Wednesday night. Both the evidence he supplied for his vaccine exemption and his visa application wasn’t enough to grant him entry, resulting in his visa being rejected by the Australian Border Force.
News Corp papers were reporting that he was trying to pass off a previous COVID infection as “natural immunity” and as proof he didn’t need a vaccination to enter the country. Let me be the first to say: the fuck?
He is set to be deported on a flight back out of the country on Thursday afternoon, but is planning on launching legal action to challenge the decision which could see him put into quarantine until that’s resolved.
Novak’s dad Srdjan Djokovic has been sounding off about his son being denied entry into Australia, reportedly telling Russian outlet Sputnik that his detainment is “a fight for the whole world”.
“This is a fight for the liberal world, this is not just a fight for Novak, but a fight for the whole world,” he said.
He also reportedly told the media that he would “fight them on the street” if Novak wasn’t released from his detainment, which is some true unhinged behaviour.
As Novak Djokovic's detention at Melbourne Airport extends beyond six hours, his father Srdan tells media, via @sunriseon7: 'They are holding my son captive. If they don't release him in the next half an hour, we will fight them on the street.'
— Oliver Brown (@oliverbrown_tel) January 5, 2022
Acting Victorian Sports Minister Jaala Pulford claimed that Border Force made a late-night plea to the Victorian government to have Novak’s visa sponsored and allow him entry on Wednesday. After the request was made in writing, it was rejected by Victorian officials, confirming that he would not be supported to enter the country under his botched visa application.
Update on #AusOpen2022…
The Federal Government has asked if we will support Novak Djokovic’s visa application to enter Australia.
We will not be providing Novak Djokovic with individual visa application support to participate in the 2022 Australian Open Grand Slam.
— Jaala Pulford MP (@JaalaPulford) January 5, 2022
We’ve always been clear on two points: visa approvals are a matter for the Federal Government, and medical exemptions are a matter for doctors.
— Jaala Pulford MP (@JaalaPulford) January 5, 2022
A spokesperson for Border Force refuted these claims to the SMH, and said there was no request made for support from the Victorian government, but rather a request for more information about his medical exemption documents.
“ABF did not request Victorian government support a visa,” they said.
“ABF reached [out] to the Victorian government to validate their public statements about their support for his entry, and whether Victoria had further information related to his medical exemption documentation.”
Apparently, this has now gone all the way to the top in Serbia. Reuters reports that President Aleksandar Vučić is determined to bring an end to “the harassment of the world’s best tennis player” immediately.
“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,” Vučić said in a statement on Wednesday.
My god, this is ridiculous and already much more entertaining than anything Novak could have done on the court.
Serbian’s President now involved, saying he “will fight for justice and truth.”
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) January 5, 2022
Either way, he won’t be playing the Aus Open this year. See ya later Novax. Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.Image: Getty Images / Giampiero Sposito