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Djokovic again for one more evening in Australia detention earlier than court docket listening to


Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic practices on Rod Laver Arena ahead of the 2022 Australian Open at Melbourne Park, in Melbourne, Australia, January 11, 2022.

Serbian tennis participant Novak Djokovic practices on Rod Laver Enviornment forward of the 2022 Australian Open at Melbourne Park, in Melbourne, Australia, January 11, 2022. Kelly Defina/Pool through REUTERS

MELBOURNE—Novak Djokovic will spend Saturday evening in immigration detention earlier than the world’s tennis primary seeks a court docket ruling to cease his deportation and maintain alive his bid for a report twenty first main title on the Australian Open.

Djokovic arrived on the Park Resort, the identical immigration detention resort the place he was held final week, simply earlier than 3:30 pm (0430 GMT), in line with a Reuters witness.

A couple of dozen refugee activists have been chanting as Djokovic and Border Power guards drove into the underground storage of the resort, which can also be getting used to carry 33 asylum seekers and vacationers in COVID-19 quarantine.

It will likely be a second stint in detention for Djokovic, who spent his first 4 nights in Australia in resort detention earlier than a choose freed him on Monday after discovering a call to cancel his visa on arrival had been unreasonable.

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke determined to cancel the Serbian famous person’s visa as a result of his presence might foster opposition to COVID-19 vaccination in Australia, court docket paperwork launched after an preliminary listening to within the Federal Court docket on Saturday confirmed.

“Though I … settle for that Mr Djokovic poses a negligible particular person danger of transmitting COVID-19 to different individuals, I nonetheless contemplate that his presence could also be a danger to the well being of the Australian group,” Hawke mentioned in a letter to Djokovic and his authorized staff.

This clarification in Djokovic’s affidavit is extra detailed than the temporary assertion Hawke launched on Friday, which mentioned his choice was primarily based on “well being and good order grounds.”

Justice David O’Callaghan set a listening to on Djokovic’s attraction for 9:30 a.m. on Sunday (2230 GMT on Saturday), with the query of whether or not it could be held earlier than a single choose or a full court docket nonetheless to be decided.

Djokovic’s attorneys mentioned on Friday they might argue deportation would solely additional fan anti-vaccine sentiment and could be as a lot a risk to dysfunction and public well being as letting him keep and exempting him from Australia’s requirement that each one guests be vaccinated.

A court docket order on Friday evening had required the 34-year-old to give up to immigration officers for an interview on Saturday morning, earlier than he could be taken to his attorneys’ officers for the preliminary listening to. After leaving his attorneys, he was to be taken into immigration detention.

Border Power and the immigration minister’s workplace didn’t instantly reply to requests for touch upon whether or not Djokovic had attended the interview.

The federal government has mentioned it could not deport Djokovic till his attraction has been heard. Djokovic needs to give you the option defend his title on the Australian Open, which begins on Monday.


The controversy has overshadowed the standard build-up to the Grand Slam occasion, and gamers have been tiring of the saga.

“Truthfully I’m little bit bored with the state of affairs as a result of I simply imagine that it’s essential to speak about our sport, about tennis,” Spaniard Rafa Nadal, who’s tied on 20 main titles with Djokovic, advised reporters at Melbourne Park, the place the occasion will probably be performed.

German Alexander Zverev, the world quantity three, mentioned Djokovic had been handled unfairly and that the Serb may need been used as a political pawn by Australian authorities, one thing Canberra has denied.

Djokovic’s medical exemption from vaccine necessities to play the Open prompted huge anger in Australia, which has undergone some the world’s hardest COVID-19 lockdowns and the place greater than 90% of adults are vaccinated, however hospitalization charges proceed to hit report highs.

With international scientists and policymakers targeted on vaccinating as many individuals as attainable to finish the pandemic, the refusal of Djokovic to get the jab has fueled the anti-vaccination motion, particularly in his native Serbia and surrounding international locations.

The controversy over the tennis participant has turn into a political touchstone for Prime Minister Scott Morrison as he prepares for an election due by Could.

His authorities has gained help at residence for its robust stance on border safety in the course of the pandemic, but it surely has confronted criticism for its dealing with of Djokovic’s visa software.

Djokovic, scheduled to play fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovi in the primary spherical of the Open, is looking a record-breaking twenty first Grand Slam title. However as an alternative of hitting Rod Laver Enviornment on Monday, he could possibly be deported on a flight out of Melbourne.

He has the choice of withdrawing and leaving Australia of his personal accord.

Australian Open is rather more essential than any participant,” mentioned Nadal, whom Djokovic considers his best rival on a tennis court docket.

“If he’s taking part in lastly, OK. If he’s not taking part in, Australian Open will probably be nice … with or with out him.”

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