Novak lost his appeal and will be deported
The government feared Novak's presence could cause
Novak is disappointed he cannot compete in the Australian Open
Novak needs time to
Novak's Australian visa issues
He could be banned from Australia for 3 years
In public interest to cancel Novak's visa
Novak failed to admit he had been in other countries prior to arriving in Australia
Djokovic's procedural hearing
Written arguments had to be submitted on January 15
A final hearing to decide Novak's fate
Novak was hoping to compete in the Australian Open
The best tennis player in the world
Medical exemption
Controversial Instagram post
Not exactly the Hilton
Serbian flags and anti-vax signs
The government stepped in
The federal government's decision not Tennis Australia
He was free to leave at any time
Acceptable proof
Doubting the vaccine
26 athletes requested the exemption
No special treatment
Renata Voracova
Other tennis players speak out
Nadal Vs. Djokovic
Double standards
Numbers going up in Australia
1,600 visitors for the Australian Open
“They prioritised a tennis tournament over their own citizens”
Released
The athlete was not given the correct amount of time to respond
Border Force acted too soon
A valid exemption
Djokovic had recently had COVID
Unjust treatment?
Australian government said Djokovic does not qualify for exemption
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Novak lost his appeal and will be deported

Novak Djokovic lost his appeal to restore his visa and will be deported from Australia and will not compete in the Australian Open. On Sunday, January 16th, the full federal court rejected Djokovic's lawyers' challenge of Australian immigration minister Alex Hawke's decision to cancel the tennis player's visa.

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The government feared Novak's presence could cause "civil unrest" in the country

Alex Hawke canceled Novak Djokovic's visa because he believed that the no1 tennis player's presence in the country might cause "civil unrest" since the Serbian is considered a "talisman of anti-vaccination sentiment."
The court unanimously dismissed Djokovic's application, and the athlete must pay all costs.

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Novak is disappointed he cannot compete in the Australian Open

Djokovic made a statement regarding the court's decision and said he was "extremely disappointed" as it means he "cannot stay in Australia and participate in the Australian Open."

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"I am uncomfortable that the focus has been on me..."

The star said, "I respect the court's ruling and I will cooperate with the relevant authorities in relation to my departure from the country. I am uncomfortable that the focus of the past weeks has been on me, and I hope that we can all now focus on the game and tournament I love."

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Novak needs time to "rest and recuperate"

Djokovic continued, "I would like to wish the players, tournament officials, staff, volunteers, and fans all the best for the tournament." He also said he would now take a small break to "rest and recuperate" before further comment.

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Novak's Australian visa issues

According to Aljazeera, the validity of the athlete's visa was questioned a second time on Friday, January 14th. The reason: the Australian government said that since Djokovic is unvaccinated for Covid-19, he was a potential health risk to the community.

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He could be banned from Australia for 3 years

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke used discretionary powers to cancel the Serbian champ's visa. Since the athlete was unsuccessful in his appeal, in addition to deportation, he could be banned from returning to Australia for three years.

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In public interest to cancel Novak's visa

"Today I exercised my power under section 133C(3) of the Migration Act to cancel the visa held by Mr Novak Djokovic on health and good order grounds, on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so," Hawke said in a statement.

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Novak failed to admit he had been in other countries prior to arriving in Australia

In addition, the elite athlete publicly acknowledged that he was not truthful in his travel declaration. He failed to indicate that he had been to multiple countries in the two weeks prior to his arrival in Australia.

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Djokovic's procedural hearing

On Saturday, January 15th, the Serbian athlete appeared in court for a 15-minute procedural hearing, just two days ahead of his scheduled first match in the Australian Open.

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Written arguments had to be submitted on January 15

At the procedural hearing, Judge David O'Callaghan ruled that Djokovic's lawyers and the government would both need to submit written arguments later on Saturday, January 15th.

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A final hearing to decide Novak's fate

The hearing held on Sunday morning sealed Djokovic's fat. The Serbian athlete was told he would not be allowed to remain in the country and compete in the Australian Open.

Click on to read more about Novak Djokovic's visa troubles began in Australia.

 

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Novak was hoping to compete in the Australian Open

Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic has been at the center of a diplomatic incident over the past month as he attempted to obtain permission to remain in Australia so as to compete in the Australian Open.

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The best tennis player in the world

Widely considered the best male tennis player in the world at the moment, coronavirus-related Australian government policy snatched away Djokovic's chances of participating in the tournament. The Serbian athlete won the Australian Open in 2021.

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Medical exemption

Djokovic, currently ranked number one by the worldwide Association of Tennis Professionals, received a medical exemption by Tennis Australia and the Victoria state government to play in the Australian Open despite not being vaccinated.

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Controversial Instagram post

According to The Guardian, Djokovic posted on his Instagram account the decision from  two medical panels that he wouldn’t be required to be vaccinated or go through a 14-day quarantine in order to play in the Australian Open. Since then, he has deleted the post.

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Not exactly the Hilton

However, the Serbian tennis player was detained while entering Australia on January 5. The BBC reported that Djokovic was placed into an immigration hotel in Melbourne, which can be seen in the image, along with refugees and asylum seekers.

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Serbian flags and anti-vax signs

Fans of Djokovic gathered outside the immigration hotel to protest the Australian Border Force's decision. Many carried Serbian flags, and a few anti-vax signs.

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The government stepped in

“Some individuals are here now that have not met the entry requirements and we have to investigate that”, Australian Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews told local network Channel 9 on January 7.

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The federal government's decision not Tennis Australia

The minister stated that while Tennis Australia and the state of Victoria are free to decide who gets to play, ultimately it's the federal government who has the last word when it comes to border control.

 

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He was free to leave at any time

Andrews also highlighted that the tennis player was free to leave the country any moment if he wanted to.

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Acceptable proof

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, meanwhile, was quoted by The Guardian declaring that Djokovic “must provide acceptable proof that he cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons.”

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"Next plane home"

Morrison said that if the Serbian tennis player failed to provide credible evidence, Djokovic would be on “the next plane home.”

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Doubting the vaccine

The Serbian tennis player has expressed in the past his doubts about vaccination, and has refused to publicly disclose whether he was vaccinated or not.

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"Doctor" Djokovic

This incident confirms that Djokovic, who in the past has spoken of his trust in alternative medicine, is not inoculated against Covid-19.

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26 athletes requested the exemption

Craig Tiley, the chief executive of the Australian Open, revealed that 26 athletes had applied for a medical exemption.

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No special treatment

The CEO of the Australian Open rejects the notion that there was any sort of special treatment with ATP’s number one male athlete.

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Renata Voracova

On January 7th, the Australian Border Force also canceled Czech tennis player Renata Voracova's visa. Voracova was held in the same immigration hotel as Djokovic.

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Other tennis players speak out

Other tennis players questioned Tiley’s affirmation. British doubles player Jamie Murray was quoted by Al Jazeera saying that had he been in Djokovic’s position, he probably wouldn’t have gotten an exemption.

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Nadal Vs. Djokovic

Rafael Nadal lambasted the Serbian tennis player. “Djokovic has made a decision, and he must face the consequences”, argued the Spanish athlete, according to Spanish sports newspaper As.

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Double standards

Many Australians expressed their anger towards what they denounced as a “double standard”, according to the BBC. There were complaints in 2021 about different rules applying to celebrities and wealthy people.

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Numbers going up in Australia

Australia, with a vaccination rate of over 90% in its adult population, recently introduced new, stricter measures seeking to curb the biggest spike of Covid-19 cases ever reported.

Image: Johns Hopkins Center

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1,600 visitors for the Australian Open

In some cases, common people can’t travel between Australian states or to other countries. Despite this, the BBC reported that the local government had no problem allowing over 1,600 visitors into the country for the Australian Open.

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“They prioritised a tennis tournament over their own citizens”

“They prioritised a tennis tournament over their own citizens,” commented Sabrina Tiasha to the BBC. She was one of the 40,000 Australians left stranded outside her country when the pandemic started, until returning to her home in April 2021.

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Released

Djokovic is openly against the COVID vaccine, and for many anti-vaxxers, his release was considered a huge "win" for the cause. On January 10th, Judge Kelly ordered that the Serbian tennis star be released from detention and that the Australian government reimburse him any costs.

Photo: Instagram@djokernole

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The athlete was not given the correct amount of time to respond

The Australian government admitted in court that Djokovic was not given adequate time to respond following the notification to cancel his visa.

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Border Force acted too soon

On Thursday January 6th, the athlete was informed that he would have until 8:30 am local time to comment on his visa cancellation per section 116 of the Australian Migration Act. However, the Border Force arrived to their final decision just after 7:40 on January 6th.

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"We all play by the same rules"

Judge Anthony Kelly said that the authorities should have stuck to the original time limit, which would have given Djokovic more time to make a submission defending his visa request. Judge Kelly said, "We all play by the same rules. Stated in other terms: those rules were not observed."

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A valid exemption

At the hearing, Djokovic's lawyers argued that the Serbian champ had entered Australia with the understanding that he had a valid exemption and could enter the country despite not being fully vaccinated against COVID.

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Djokovic had recently had COVID

Nick Wood informed the court that two different medical boards had granted Djokovic a medical exemption following his recovery from a recent Covid-19 infection.

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"He had done absolutely everything."

Wood also told the court that he had given the officials all the required medical evidence. Mr. Wood told the court, "He had done absolutely everything. He had engaged with everything that was required of him by Tennis Australia."

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Unjust treatment?

It seems the Judge agreed with the arguments made by Mr. Wood as he asked the government lawyers, "What more could this man have done?" Judge Kelly said he felt agitated by the evidence presented by the defense, who argued that the treatment that Djokovic received was "manifestly unjust."

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Australian government said Djokovic does not qualify for exemption

However, Australian government lawyer Christopher Tran claimed that having had Covid recently did not qualify Djokovic for an exemption from travel rules. Tran denied any unfairness or unreasonableness in regard to the government's decision.

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"Thank you for standing with me"

Following the conclusion of his Monday January 10th trial, Djokovic shared a message on social media thanking his supporters and his plans to stay in Australia to compete in the Australia Open.

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