Novak Djokovic holed up at infamous quarantine hotel as legal battle over visa starts

Novak Djokovic looking on

Novak Djokovic spent most of Thursday at a quarantine hotel in Melbourne that is used to house asylum-seekers while his lawyers started their fight against his deportation from Australia.

The world No 1’s hopes of defending his Australian Open title suffered a major blow on Thursday when the Australian Border Force denied him entry into the country and told him he would be deported later in the day.

The drama started when Tuesday when Djokovic announced on social media that he is on his way to Australia as he had received an “exemption permission” to compete at the hard-court Grand Slam.

However, before he had even touched down at Melbourne’s Tullamanrien airport it was evident that he would not be let into the country.

After the 20-time Grand Slam winner had spent more than nine hours in isolation at the airport, Border Force officials confirmed that “Mr Djokovic failed to provide appropriate evidence to meet the entry requirements to Australia, and his visa has been subsequently cancelled”.

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However, he will fight the decision and his lawyers have started the legal process as they have sought an urgent injunction against his deportation.

It meant Djokovic has had to be moved to quarantine hotel in Melbourne that is infamous as it houses asylum-seekers.

The Park Hotel, situated close to the University of Melbourne, has housed government detainees since December 2020. Many of the detainees have been held for years as they continue to battle for visas to remain in Australia.

Following Djokovic’s arrival, Serbian supporters draped in the country’s flags and media started to congregate outside the facility while protestors also made their way to the hotel.

But Djokovic could yet be moved out before the end of the day as his application is set to be heard 18:00 local time.

“There’s an application for an interim injunction preventing Novak Djokovic being deported until after. a final hearing at 10am on Monday. It’ll be heard at 6pm tonight – unless the govt decides to let him say until then,” journalist Karen Sweeney revealed.