Australian justice orders the release of Novak Djokovic, who can still be deported

A judge on Monday, January 10 ordered the immediate release of Novak Djokovic from the detention center in which he was placed last week, a victory in the legal battle between the world No. 1 to enter Australia without being vaccinated against the Covid-19.

Vaccine exemption, visa error, threat of deportation: Novak Djokovic’s crazy week in Australia

A government lawyer, however, warned that Canberra could still order Novak Djokovic’s deportation, which would bar him from entering Australia for three years. “I was told that (the minister) would examine the possibility of exercising a personal power of annulment”, did he declare.

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This judicial standoff began five days ago with the cancellation of the Serbian player’s visa upon his arrival in Australia to play the first Grand Slam of the year. The Australian Open, where Djokovic aims to afford a 21st Grand Slam tournament that would place him at the top of tennis history, ahead of his two historic rivals, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Tested positive in December

The Serbian player believes he can be exempted from vaccination because he contracted Covid-19 in December. “The date of the first positive Covid PCR test was recorded on December 16, 2021”, which would give the Serbian world No. 1 an exemption from vaccination imposed by Australia, his lawyers said, in a document filed in federal court.

Caught in the whirlwind of the controversy, the boss of the Australian Federation con side rejected the criticisms, praising the ” amazing work “ of his teams in the soap opera Novak Djokovic. “We point the finger a lot and we blame a lot, but I can assure you that our team did an incredible job”, explains Craig Tiley, boss of Tennis Australia, organizer of the Australian Open, in a video for his teams, unveiled on Saturday by the “Herald Sun”.

Another player in the detention center

The Federation is however at the center of criticism. She has been accused of misleading players about Covid-19 vaccination obligations to enter the country. In a note sent to players and published by several Australian media, the organization assured that a person who recently contracted Covid-19 could benefit from an exemption from the obligation to be fully vaccinated.

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The Australian government has assured to have warned Tennis Australia in November that this provision was only valid for Australian residents, not for foreign citizens wishing to enter the country.

Another tennis player, Czech Renata Voracova, is in the same detention center as Novak Djokovic after also having her Australian visa canceled, she said in an interview with Czech dailies DNES and Sport. “They bring me food and there is a guard in the hallway. Everything is rationed. I feel a bit like in prison ”, said this 38-year-old doubles specialist.

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