Djokovic ‘allowed to enter Australia as he had Covid’, star’s lawyers say

Tennis star Novak Djokovic had been handed a vaccine exemption to enter Australia because he had recently tested positive with Covid.

The anti-vax World No 1’s had contracted the virus and tested positive on December 16, according to court documents.

Djokovic was pictured arriving at the Australian border on Wednesday before he was detained

Djokovic was pictured arriving at the Australian border on Wednesday before he was detainedCredit: Reuters

Novak Djokovic's tested positive for the virus on December 16

Novak Djokovic’s tested positive for the virus on December 16Credit: pixel8000

Djokovic's father Srdjan claimed the Australian authorities were holding his son captive

Djokovic’s father Srdjan claimed the Australian authorities were holding his son captiveCredit: Getty

He was detained in Melbourne airport for nine hours after touching down to play in the Australian Open, and has been forced to isolate in a hotel since.

Serbian Djokovic, 34, sparked a major backlash after he was granted a vaccine exemption to play in the contest.

He has not openly spoken about his vaccination status, but last year did admit that he was “opposed” to vaccination.

The 20-time Grand Slam winner announced that he was travelling to Australia with an “exemption permission” on January 4.

But Australia’s Border Force confirmed Djokovic’s visa had been revoked after he landed to take part in the Australian Open at around 11.15pm local time yesterday.

Djokovic’s injunction request against the visa cancellation was listed for hearing later today in the Federal Circuit and Family Court.

But a judge adjourned proceedings until 10am on Monday, meaning Djokovic faces an uncertain weekend in hotel quarantine.

In documents his lawyers have now said: “The date of the first positive Covid PCR test was recorded on 16 December 2021.”

The star did not appear online for the hearing last week, which was adjourned twice on Thursday afternoon because necessary documents had not been received.

Organisers of the tournament initially confirmed that his medical exemption had been granted by two independent medical panels organised by Tennis Australia and Victoria state.

But after arriving on Wednesday from Dubai, border officials stated that he had “failed to provide appropriate evidence” for his entry.

Djokovic has now been forced to tough it out in an infamous immigration hotel dubbed the “Alternative Place of Detention” until a court rules on his deportation on Monday.

Previous guests have complained of maggot-riddled food, mouldy bread, fires, Covid outbreaks and bugs in rooms.

He has demanded a personal chef and access to a tennis court – which have reportedly been denied by Australian authorities.


Djokovic has been told he will receive no special treatment while he stays in immigration custody at the $109-a-night Park Hotel in Carlton, Melbourne.

He broke his silence yesterday ahead of his court hearing on Monday as his anti-vaccination row rumbles on.

The star thanked his supporters “around the world” who have backed his defiant stance after his controversial decision

In an Instagram post, he wrote: “Thank you to people around the world for your continuous support. I can feel it and it is greatly appreciated.”

Furious fans began to congregate outside the Park Hotel in Carlton in protest of his quarantine and having his visa stripped from him.

They were encouraged by the tennis player’s father Srdjan, who called on people to “take to the streets”.

His wife Jelena also spoke out to applaud supporters while calling for “love and forgiveness” as tensions in the sports world rise.

The 35-year-old wrote: “Thank you dear people, all around the world for using your voice to send love to my husband.

“The only law that we should all respect across every single border is Love and respect for another human being.”


Australia’s Home Affairs minister Karen Andrews revealed the Serbian sportsman did not provide adequate reason for why he is unjabbed.

She told Channel Nine’s Today Show: “Anyone entering Australia has to meet the entry requirements which includes medical evidence of vaccination or alternately for medical reasons that individual cannot be vaccinated.

“So, specifically he hasn’t met the medical reasons why he couldn’t be vaccinated.”

However, she rebutted claims Djokovic is being held “prisoner” and said he can leave any time he wants but is staying of his own free will as he awaits a decision from the courts.

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison denies claims that Djokovic, who has won nine times at the Aussie Open, was being singled out, and that no one was above the country’s rules.

He added: “When you get people making public statements – of what they say they have, and what they are going to do, and what their claims are – well they draw significant attention to themselves.

“There are no special cases, rules are rules. We will continue to make the right decisions when it comes to securing Australian borders in relation to this pandemic.”

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic then became embroiled in the row, contacting the star directly to offer his support.

He then summoned Australia’s ambassador to the country to discuss the issues the Serb was facing.

President Aleksandar Vucic added that the star was a victim of “harassment” and said that “the whole of Serbia” supported him.

Angry supporters of Djokovic have congregated outside of his hotel

Angry supporters of Djokovic have congregated outside of his hotelCredit: Reuters

Fellow tennis superstar Rafael Nadal has hit out at his rival

Fellow tennis superstar Rafael Nadal has hit out at his rivalCredit: AP

It has been confirmed that two other people are having their medical exemptions reviewed – after using the same documents as Djokovic.

Djokovic’s father, Srdjan Djokovic, said “This is not just a fight for Novak, but a fight for the whole world.

Tennis superstar Rafael Nadal hit out at bitter rival Djokovic over the dramatic series of events – urging everyone to “get vaccinated”.

An Australian Border Force statement read: “The ABF can confirm that Mr Djokovic failed to provide appropriate evidence to meet the entry requirements to Australia, and his visa has been subsequently cancelled.

“Non-citizens who do not hold a valid visa on entry or who have had their visa cancelled will be detained and removed from Australia.

“The ABF can confirm Mr Djokovic had access to his phone.​”

Get vaccinated. If he wanted, he would playing here in Australia without problems.

Rafael Nadal

The star has previously come under fire for his anti-vaxx views, and blatantly ignoring medical advice during the global pandemic.

During lockdown the star openly flouted lockdown rules by partying with hundreds of fans in Belgrade after beating Roger Federer’s record for the most weeks as men’s world No1.

The star and his family watched on as fireworks took place in front of a mass crowd at their restaurant.

He was seen wearing a mask for some of the celebrations, but no social distancing measures were in place.

He last year held the controversial exhibition Adria Tour, which took place without social distancing in Belgrade and Zadar, Croatia.

Videos later surfaced of Djokovic and other players partying in a nightclub, with their tops off.

After the farcical tour, where the sportsman, his wife and three others tested positive for the virus, he issued an apology.

Djokovic was criticised by Brit Andy Murray and Nick Kyrgios for the shambolic decision making.

It is understood that the star has been detained in the Park Hotel

It is understood that the star has been detained in the Park HotelCredit: Getty

Many fans have been vocal about their support of the Serbian champion

Many fans have been vocal about their support of the Serbian championCredit: Getty
Tennis star Novak Djokovic faces an anxious wait over Australia visa appeal

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