Australian government says Djokovic has not been guaranteed entry into the country According to Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A supporter of Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic gathers outside the Park Hotel, where it is believed the star athlete will be detained while he remains in Australia, in Melbourne, Australia, day January 7, 2022. REUTERS / Loren Elliott / File Photo


By Courtney Walsh and Byron Kaye

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – The Australian government has failed to assure tennis star Novak Djokovic that the medical exemption he says he must enter Australia without a COVID-19 vaccine will be accepted, lawyers say government said in a court filing Sunday.

The filing before the court on Monday was to defend the government’s decision to ban the world number one tennis player from entering the country because of his COVID-19 vaccination status.

Djokovic is hoping to win his 21st Grand Slam at the Australian Open, which begins in Melbourne on January 17. But instead of training, he is confined to a hotel for asylum seekers. He is challenging his decision to cancel his visa after being stopped on arrival at Melbourne Airport early on Thursday.

A vocal opponent of vaccine mandates, Djokovic has refused to disclose his vaccination status or the reason for applying for a medical exemption under Australia’s vaccine regulations. But his legal team said in a court filing on Saturday that the Serb was granted a contractual exemption and recovered from the virus in December.

Djokovic’s filing says the player has received an assessment from the Home Office that his responses to his Australian Tourist Statement indicate he meets the requirements to be admitted. quarantine-free entry into this country.

But the government’s submission said the department’s email was not a guarantee “that his so-called ‘medical waiver’ will be accepted”, and that his responses could be reviewed. question and verify when he arrives.

The government submission also challenges Djokovic’s request for a medical exemption from Australia’s vaccination requirements on the basis that he contracted COVID-19 in mid-December.

“There was no suggestion that the applicant suffered a ‘severe acute illness’ in December 2021. All he said was that he tested positive for COVID-19,” the government statement said. government said.

The Djokovic drama has rocked the tennis world, stoked tensions between Serbia and Australia and become the focal point for opponents on a worldwide vaccine quest.

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