Djokovic in limbo where lawyers fight Australia’s ban

Melbourne — Novak Djokovic stays at a hotel in Melbourne for immigrant detainees for at least 72 hours after being denied entry to Australia on Thursday in a political storm over a medical exemption from COVID-19 vaccination requirements. I was trapped.

The tennis star, chasing the record 21st Grand Slam at the Australian Open, remained in the country after his lawyer launched an appeal to overturn a federal decision. The court agreed not to deport him before the full hearing scheduled for Monday.

The Serbian president has led the story to an international line, claiming that the country’s most famous sportsman has been harassed.

“They keep him as a prisoner,” Djokovic’s mother, Dijana, said at a Belgrade family restaurant. “It’s not fair. It’s not human.”

She talked to the champion on Thursday, and said he had a hard time falling asleep. “His accommodation [is] Terrible. Even if it’s a hotel, it’s just a small immigrant hotel. If there are bugs, it’s all dirty. The food is terrible. “

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison defended Djokovic’s decision to deny entry at a press conference televised.

“There is nothing special. The rules are the rules,” he said. “We will continue to make the right decisions regarding securing the Australian border in connection with this pandemic.”

Spanish champion Rafael Nadal told reporters in Melbourne that he felt sorry for his rivals. “But at the same time, he knew the situation for months.”

Djokovic, who has consistently refused to disclose vaccination status while publicly criticizing essential vaccines, said on Tuesday that he had received a medical exemption to participate in the British Open from January 17th on Instagram. , Exploded anger.

The announcement prompted protests in Australia, especially in the tournament host city of Melbourne. Melbourne has endured the longest cumulative blockage in the world to prevent the coronavirus.

Court battle over exemption

At a hearing at the Federal Circuit and Family Court in Australia on Thursday night, Jokovic and government lawyers agreed that players could stay in the country at least until Monday.

Djokovic’s fate is linked to a political battle in Australia, characterized by a pointing between Morrison’s conservative government and the left-wing Victorian government over his medical exemption.

Australia’s daily COVID-19 infection has reached record highs for four consecutive days, intensifying the conflict.

Novak Djokovic protesters
Protesters are hoisting a sign outside the Park Hotel, where Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic is believed to live, on January 6, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Sandra Sanders / Reuters)

Under the Australian federal system, states and territories can issue exemptions from vaccination requirements to enter the jurisdiction. However, the federal government controls the border and can challenge such exemptions.

Djokovic was exempt from tax from the Victorian Government. The reason for his medical exemption has not been officially announced, but Melbourne’s The Age reported Thursday that it was based on his infection with COVID-19 in the last six months. ..

However, upon his arrival, officials at the airport’s Federal Border Forces said Djokovic could not justify the reason for his exemption.

The Australian Task Force, which sets tax exemption parameters, lists the risk of serious heart disease from vaccination and COVID-19 infection over the last 6 months as eligible. But Morrison said Tennis Australia had been informed a few weeks ago that recent infections did not meet the exemption criteria.

Tennis Australia and Victorian government officials said Djokovic has not received any incentives.

Djokovic’s lawyer Nick Wood told Judge Anthony Kelly earlier that the opening began on January 17, advising Judge Anthony Kelly that Tennis Australia needs to know about participating in the tournament by Tuesday. ..

In response, when asked when Djokovic was due to play his first match, Kelly said, “With the necessary respect, the dog’s tail won’t swing here.”

“Not human, not fair”

The Australian government’s move to block Djokovic’s entry has created a turmoil between Canberra and Belgrade.

Serbian President Alexander Vucci spoke with Djokovic on Twitter and said he had accused the Australian government of harassment.

“This persecution is unfair, including the Australian Prime Minister,” he later told the Serbian media. “They act as if the same set of rules applies to everyone, but accept others for the same reasons that Novak applied.”

Morrison said he knew that a statement had been made by the Serbian embassy in Canberra, but denied accusations of harassment.

Djokovic’s father, Suljan, told Serbian media that his son was taken to a police-supervised isolation room when he arrived at Melbourne’s Tullamarine airport late Wednesday after a 14-hour flight from Dubai. rice field.

His family held an inspiring press conference at Djokovic’s restaurant in Belgrade, displaying nine of his previous Australian Open trophies before protesting in front of Congress.

“They continue to capture him. They are trampling through Novak to trample all over Serbia,” his father said.

There was also support on the streets of the Serbian capital.

“He’s the best in the history of the sport and they can’t break him any other way, but they’re not going to break him,” said Belgrade resident Zdravko Kukitch. Said.