Home Somerset county Exemption, detention and expulsion – The Australian Open saga of Novak Djokovic

Exemption, detention and expulsion – The Australian Open saga of Novak Djokovic


Novak Djokovic will not defend his Australian Open title after his visa was upheld.

The nine-time champion’s torrid stay in Melbourne will end with him being deported from the country following a ruling by the Federal Court of Australia not to overturn Immigration Minister Alex Hawke’s decision.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at how the saga unfolded.

January 4: Djokovic reveals he is on his way to the Australian Open under a medical exemption. He writes on Instagram: “Had some fantastic quality time with my loved ones over the break and today I’m heading Down Under on a waiver clearance. Let’s go for 2022!!”

January 5: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison warns Djokovic that he will be on the “next plane home” if his medical exemption is deemed insufficient, and is adamant. Djokovic will not receive preferential treatment.

January 5: Djokovic’s visa is canceled upon his arrival in Melbourne. The Australian Border Force announces that the player “has not provided the appropriate evidence to meet the requirements for entry into Australia”.

January 6: Djokovic is sent to the Park Detention Hotel in Melbourne, which is used to house refugees and asylum seekers. He launched an appeal, which was adjourned until 10 a.m. on January 10. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic claims Djokovic is the victim of “persecution”.

January 9: Documents show Djokovic was granted a vaccine exemption to enter Australia because he registered a positive Covid-19 test in Serbia on December 16. However, social media posts reveal that he attended a number of social events in the days following his diagnosis.

January 10: Djokovic’s visa cancellation is overturned by Judge Anthony Kelly, who orders the Australian government to pay court costs and release Djokovic from custody within half an hour. Djokovic says he is “satisfied and grateful” and wants to “stay and try to compete”.

January 11: Djokovic’s title defense remains uncertain as the immigration minister debates whether to overturn the court’s decision.

January 12: Djokovic admits having made an “error in judgment” by attending an interview with a French journalist when he was positive for Covid. He adds that although he attended a children’s tennis event the day after the test, he did not receive the notification of the positive test until after the event. He also attributed an inaccuracy on his declaration form to an error by his agent.

January 13: Djokovic is drawn to face fellow Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round.

January 14: Immigration Minister Alex Hawke canceled Djokovic’s visa for a second time, saying in a statement it was “for reasons of health and good order”.

Novak Djokovic sits in the back of a car arriving at a migrant detention hotel in Melbourne (AP)

January 14: Djokovic immediately launches another legal challenge and in a hastily arranged hearing, it appears Hawke made his decision due to the possibility that Djokovic would stoke anti-vaccination sentiment in Australia.

January 15: Djokovic is once again officially detained and taken back to the Park Hotel.

January 16: Three judges of the Federal Court of Australia unanimously reject the challenge of Djokovic and he decides not to go further in his fight and accepts the expulsion.