NewsNovak Djokovic is allowed to stay: Unvaccinated tennis star...

Novak Djokovic is allowed to stay: Unvaccinated tennis star wins legal dispute in Australia

Tennis star Novak Djokovic is threatened with deportation from Australia. Now there is a partial success for the 34-year-old in court.

+++ 7.42 a.m.: Now the decision in the case of Novak Djokovic has been made faster than expected. Because the objection of the Serbian tennis professional Novak Djokovic against his refused entry to Australia has been granted. That was decided by a court on Monday (local time) in Melbourne. What consequences this has for the defending champion’s participation in the Australian Open, which starts in a week, was initially unclear.

Update from Monday, January 10th, 2022, 7 a.m.: A court in Australia has postponed the threatened deportation of the Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic for a few hours. A few minutes before an earlier court order expired, Djokovic received a postponement from Judge Anthony Kelly until Monday (January 10, 2022) at 8 p.m. local time (10 a.m. CET). Djokovic is fighting in court to be allowed to enter Australia in order to participate in the Australian Open Grand Slam tournament. Border officials had refused him entry because he could not provide the necessary evidence.

Proof of vaccination against the coronavirus is required to enter Australia. Otherwise, a medical exemption can be applied for. Novak Djokovic said that he had done that, but the documents apparently did not suffice for the border guards and they withdrew his visa. The hearing is due to resume later on Monday. It had been delayed time and time again as the court’s online system collapsed amid the wave of worldwide interest.

Australia withdraws Novak Djokovic’s visa: Richter offers small glimmers of hope

In the first part of the hearing in the morning, the judge had offered Djokovic a small glimmer of hope that he would still be able to participate in the Australian Open, which begins on January 17th. Djokovic presented evidence of a medical exemption from a “professor and a highly qualified doctor”. “What else could this man have done?” Asked the judge.

Djokovic has been staying in the “Park Hotel” since Thursday (January 6th, 2022), a controversial facility where the authorities are also detaining migrants threatened with deportation. However, he has received permission from the court to follow the proceedings on Monday from another, undisclosed location and to return to the detention center after the hearings are over.

Tennis players without corona vaccination: is Australia turning a blind eye?

First report from Sunday, January 9th, 2022, 5:03 p.m .: Melbourne – The Australian judge Anthony Kelly makes it clear: The judiciary cannot be rushed. The lawyers of tennis star Novak Djokovic had requested the court’s decision on his visa “at the earliest possible time”. The elaboration of the legal argument could be published later. Djokovic is running out of time: The Australian Open 2022 in Melbourne will start on January 17th.

The 34-year-old world number one landed on Wednesday evening (January 5th, 2022) in Melbourne, Australia, after he said he had received an exemption from the tournament organizers for entry without proof of a corona vaccination. However, the Australian border guards did not recognize this and withdrew his visa.

Djokovic’s lawyers want the court to withdraw the visa cancellation. They argue that the application for a waiver was approved by two independent medical bodies. They cited a positive corona test of the Serbian player on December 16, 2021 as the reason for the approval.

Surviving corona infection is not the same as vaccination: Australian Open could start without Djokovic

A memo to the players published by the Australian media said that a corona infection could make a full vaccination unnecessary. According to the Australian government, however, this rule only applies to Australian citizens. The Minister of Health had already pointed this out to the association in November 2021.

The fact that Djokovic tested positive for Corona on December 16, 2021 also caused negative headlines for other reasons: On the same day and one day later, he took part in two public events in Belgrade – and without a mask. Contributions from online portals show that on December 16 he took part in the presentation of his own series of stamps for the Serbian Post and one day later was involved in honoring young tennis players at the Novak Tennis Center.

In addition, Djokovic had repeatedly expressed himself critical of corona vaccinations in the past. Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach (SPD) had expressed his displeasure with the current situation on the news program RTL Direkt: Athletes are “to some extent obliged to be role models” because they live “in principle from the enthusiasm and partly from the money of the fans, the audience”.

Corona vaccination necessary in Australia: Tennis Association sees itself misled

There was also criticism of the Australian Tennis Association, which had granted Djokovic an exemption. He is accused of misleading him and other players about the corona entry rules in Australia. Association chief Craig Tiley, however, denied all guilt.

In an internal video leaked to the Sunday Herald Sun newspaper, Tiley said his team “did a great job” and “did everything they could, according to the instructions it was given.” Due to the ongoing legal proceedings, however, one will not comment publicly at first.

Australia insists on corona vaccination: tennis player Voracova also without a visa

Djokovic has been staying in the Park Hotel since Thursday (January 6th, 2022), a controversial facility where the authorities are also detaining migrants threatened with deportation. The Czech tennis player Renata Voracova, who was also detained there, told the Czech media that she felt “a bit like in prison”.

According to his lawyers, all requests to move him to another facility have failed. According to Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, the Serbian government has now made sure that he “gets gluten-free food, exercise equipment and a laptop”.

The 38-year-old Voracova has since left the country. Due to a previous corona infection, she had also hoped that she would not have to prove a vaccination. Djokovic can now only hope that the court will turn a blind eye in his case – even if the Australian judiciary is not necessarily known for it. (n / A)

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