CORONAVIRUS – Tennis world number one Novak Djokovic was returned to administrative detention this Saturday January 15 after the cancellation of his visa for the second time by the Australian government the day before, and pending a court decision on his case, according to court documents.
The presence in Australia of Djokovic, who is not vaccinated against Covid-19, “could encourage anti-vaccination sentiment”, estimated the Australian authorities in a note presented to justice, considering that the Serb should be expelled from the country.
On Friday during a hearing before a judge, the representative of the Australian government had indicated that the 34-year-old player would not be deported to the border before justice had definitively ruled on his request to block his deportation. But he had warned that Djokovic would have to wait for this decision in administrative detention.
It is the Australian federal justice which is now in charge of the case, at the request of the Melbourne judge on Friday who had been seized in the first place by the tennis player’s lawyers. This change of court is likely to slow down the procedure, estimated the defenders of Djokovic.
“Sanitary bases and public order”
Djokovic has admitted to incorrectly filling out his entry declaration to Australia, and not respecting the rules of isolation after he tested positive for Covid-19 in December ―a contamination which he hoped would allow him to benefit from an exemption to enter Australia without being vaccinated.
“Nole” had been turned back on his arrival in Melbourne on January 5 and placed in a detention centre. But his lawyers had obtained from a judge on January 10 that he restore his visa and order his immediate release.
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke, making use of his discretion in the matter, however, once again canceled Djokovic’s visa on Friday “on health and public order grounds”.
The 34-year-old was aiming for a 10th title at the Australian Open, which starts on Monday, and a 21st Grand Slam victory, which would be a record.
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