Novak Djokovic is no longer free to come and go as he pleases. As expected, the Serbian player was placed in detention under the control of the border police on Saturday morning, according to local media. A procedural hearing was to take place in the morning, pending the final decision on a possible expulsion this Sunday by a federal court, 24 hours before the start of the Australian Open.
Djokovic, not vaccinated against Covid-19, continued training on Friday in the hope of winning a 10th Australian Open title, and a 21st Grand Slam victory, which would be a record. But, at the end of the day, the Minister of Immigration Alex Hawke canceled, for the second time, the Australian visa of the Serb “on health and public order bases”.
Judicial ping pong
“Australians have made many sacrifices during this pandemic and rightly want the outcome of those sacrifices to be protected,” said Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Will the player finally throw in the towel? “Djokovic is extremely well armed and has a competent team around him. He can either stay and fight or go,” said immigration lawyer Christopher Levingston.
“Nole” had requested a waiver to enter Australia, citing Covid-19 contamination in December, but his visa was canceled for the first time upon his arrival in Melbourne on January 5 and he was placed in a detention center. Last Monday, he was released after having a judge reinstate his visa, but the document was again canceled on Friday by the Minister of Immigration under his discretionary power.
” Human error “
Djokovic admitted to having incorrectly completed his declaration of entry into Australia, and not having followed the isolation rules after testing positive for Covid-19 in December. Djokovic, seen in Serbia and Spain in the two weeks before his arrival, contrary to what he had declared in the immigration form, pleaded “human error”.
The dreams of a 10th title in Melbourne are all the more distant as this visa cancellation, if the appeal is rejected, implies that Djokovic will be banned from entering the country for three years, except in exceptional circumstances.