Why Djokovic can’t just leave Australia: Tennis pro faces destruction of his entire career

Novak Djokovic: Nigel Farage criticises Australian government

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Novak Djokovic has been staying in a Melbourne immigration detention centre after his visa was cancelled upon his arrival in Australia on Wednesday, January 5, and Australia’s Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews has said the tennis star “is free to leave at any time”. Djokovic’s lawyers are preparing an appeal against the tennis star’s deportation to be heard on Monday morning. By fighting this appeal, Djokovic is fighting to save his career from destruction – here’s why.

Novak Djokovic, 34, faces a three-year ban from entering Australia if he leaves the country or loses his appeal against his visa cancellation.

If Djokovic is banned from Australia, he will miss the next three Australian Open tournaments, forfeiting his chances at defending his title as a record nine-time winner of the Australian Open.

Australia’s entry requirements say any adult hoping to enter the country must be “fully vaccinated” against Covid.

The guidelines from Australia’s Department of Home Affairs go on to state: “Travellers with acceptable proof they cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, and children under 12 can access the same travel arrangement as fully vaccinated travellers.”

On January 4, Djokovic tweeted a picture of himself about to travel to Australia with the caption saying “today I’m heading Down Under with an exemption permission”.

The news of the Serbian tennis pro travelling with exemption, rather than vaccination, upset many Australians who have been living under strict restrictions including bans on travelling between certain states, leading to families and friends being separated.

Djokovic travelled to Australia but after a lengthy nine-hour wait at the airport was denied entry in the early hours of Thursday morning.

His lawyers succeeded in securing an appeal for Djokovic, rather than him being deported straight away.

According to a 35-page document from Djokovic’s lawyers, “Mr Djokovic had received, on 30 December 2021, a letter from the Chief Medical Officer of Tennis Australia (“Exemption Certificate”) recording that he had been provided with a “Medical exemption from COVID vaccination” on the ground that he had recently recovered from COVID.”

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The document confirms Djokovic tested positive for coronavirus on a PCR test taken on December 16.

In a YouTube video titled “The truth about Novak Djokovic”, Nigel Farage defends Djokovic and expresses his disdain at the Australian government’s position, but says he expects the tennis star will be deported.

Mr Farage said he had spoken “at length” with Djokovic’s family before saying: “Here’s what happened: He [Novak Djokovik] was actually arrested.

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“Be in no doubt about that – he was arrested.

“His wallet has been taken, his mobile phone has been taken, he’s been put into a rundown hotel which is more akin to a prison – although I think the food is somewhat worse which for a very fit athlete must be a very unhappy state of affairs.

“Worst of all, the Australian Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews gives the press statement and says ‘he’s free to leave when he likes’ – well that is not the true situation, absolutely not.

“Because if he was just to leave, he’d be banned from going back to Australia for the next three years which would put him at the age of 37 which for winning grand slams is difficult, and that’s why he has to go through this appeal process.”

If Djokovic loses his appeal on Monday, he faces deportation from Australia and a re-entry ban.

According to the Australian Home Affairs website, a re-entry ban or an exclusion period can be enforced to prevent someone from entering Australia for up to three years.

The website states: “A re-entry ban may be imposed when a person breaches their visa conditions.”

The ban can be enforced if someone overstays their visa or if, like Djokovic, a visa is cancelled.

If Djokovic is allowed to compete in the tournament, which starts on January 17, he will have lost valuable training time due to his stay in the detention hotel.

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