With two days before the start of the Australian Open, world tennis number one Novak Djokovic was arrested again this Saturday (Friday night, 14, in Brazil) in Melbourne, as justice examines his deportation for not having been vaccinated against the covid-19.
The Australian government canceled today, for the second time, the Serbian tennis player’s visa, but did not expel him immediately, waiting for the justice to rule on the appeal presented by the player’s lawyers.
According to the documents presented in court, the Australian authorities argue that Djkovic’s presence “may encourage anti-vaccination sentiment” and therefore asked for his expulsion.
The case is in the hands of Australian federal justice after the Melbourne judge before which the tennis player’s lawyers have appealed ruled incompetent.
This change of jurisdiction could slow down the process, Djokovic’s defense said.
Ten days ago, “Nole” traveled to Australia after getting a vaccination waiver from tournament organizers for testing positive for Covid-19 in mid-December.
However, upon arriving in the country, border authorities did not consider a recent infection to justify an exception, so they revoked Djokovic’s visa and sent him to a migrant detention center.
The tennis player remained locked up there until Monday, when his lawyers arranged for an Australian judge to release him for a procedural error during his interrogation at Melbourne airport.
But on Friday, Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke used his executive power to re-void Djokovic’s visa, citing “health and public order” reasons.
The 34-year-old, who may have been banned from Australia for three years, is looking to challenge for his tenth title in Melbourne and his 21st Grand Slam victory – which would be a record on the men’s circuit.