Novak Djokovic, the world number one men’s tennis player, had his visa to enter Australia unexpectedly canceled upon his arrival in Melbourne, amid a massive outcry over a vaccination exemption.
Djokovic was detained at the airport for many hours before border authorities informed him that he did not meet entrance requirements.
He was subsequently sent to a federal jail facility. On Monday, a judge will rule on his deportation.
The dispute revolves around an exemption he received to compete in the Australian Open.
The Serbian player, who has stated his opposition to vaccination, was given medical exemption by two independent medical panels organized by Tennis Australia, the event’s governing body, and Victoria state, according to tournament organizers.
Many people were outraged by the decision in a country where there has been an increase in Covid-19 cases and where more than 90 percent of individuals over the age of 16 are completely vaccinated. People have also been subjected to some of the world’s most stringent restrictions, and some are still unable to travel between states or abroad.
Border authorities stated on Wednesday that the 34-year-old had “failed to provide appropriate evidence” for entrance after arriving from Dubai. He is presently being kept at a hotel in Melbourne’s Carlton neighborhood that is utilized for immigration detention.
“Non-citizens who do not hold a valid visa on entry or who have had their visa cancelled will be detained and removed from Australia,” the Australian Border Force (ABF) stated in a statement.
Djokovic’s team has filed an appeal against ABF’s ruling, and a hearing at the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia is set on Monday.
Australia’s Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, refuted that Djokovic was singled out and stated that no one was above the country’s regulations. However, he said that Djokovic’s opinion on immunization has gotten a lot of attention.
“When you get people making public statements – of what they say they have, and what they are going to do, and what their claims are – well they draw significant attention to themselves,” Mr Morrison told reporters.
Though Djokovic’s explanation for the exception has not been revealed, Mr Morrison stated that contracting Covid-19 in the previous six months was not one of the federal requirements for one.
Mr Morrison, who previously stated that he would accept the state of Victoria’s exemption decision, is now being accused of politicizing the matter. The prime minister is under fire as a result of the Covid-19 rise, and a federal election is set to take place in May.
Separately the country’s deputy prime minister, Barnaby Joyce, suggested Djokovic should be deported if he had not spoken the truth.
Supporters of Djokovic demonstrated their displeasure with his treatment outside the hotel where he was being detained. Srdjan, the player’s father, said his son was confined in an airport room guarded by police. “This is not just a fight for Novak, but a fight for the whole world,” he added in a statement.