Novak Djokovic is no longer free to come and go as he wishes. 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 deportation this Sunday by a federal court, 24 hours before the start of the Australian Open.
Djokovic, not vaccinated against Covid-19, continued Friday to train in the hope of conquering a 19e title at the Australian Open, and one 21e 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 grounds of health and public order”.
Judicial ping pong
“Australians have made many sacrifices during this pandemic and rightly want the outcome of those sacrifices to be protected,” defended 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 leave,” said immigration lawyer Christopher Levingston. citing contamination with Covid-19 in December, but his visa was canceled for the first time in his arrival in Melbourne on January 5 and he was placed in a detention centre. Last Monday, he was released after having his visa reinstated by a judge, but the document was again canceled on Friday by the Minister of Immigration under his discretionary power.
“Human error” Djokovic admitted to having completed incorrectly his declaration of entry into Australia, and not having respected the rules of isolation after having tested 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 e title in Melbourne are getting even 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.