Novak Djokovic to remain in Australia for now as visa appeal case is adjourned

Ruthless Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic has been given a reprieve in his bid to defend his Australian Open title after the Federal Court of Australia adjourned his appeal against the decision to refuse him a visa.

Djokovic has challenged the Australian Border Force’s decision to cancel his visa application and deportation with his appeal adjourned until 10am on Monday in Melbourne, court officials said.

The world No 1 has been told by the Federal Court of Australia that he can remain in Melbourne until his appeal resumes.

The 34-year-old travelled to Australia after announcing he had received a medical exemption from Covid-19 vaccination rules to compete in the tournament.

Rafael Nadal’s sympathy for Novak Djokovic limited, saying ‘there are consequences’

That, however, was not sufficient for border officials with regard to entry into a country that has strict entry requirements. Djokovic was held for several hours at the airport after flying to Melbourne before ultimately being turned away.

An Australian Border Force (ABF) statement read: “The Australian Border Force will continue to ensure that those who arrive at our border comply with our laws and entry requirements.

“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.”

Djokovic has not made public on what grounds tournament organisers have granted him a medical exemption. Officials had insisted all players must be vaccinated to travel and compete.

It has been reported Djokovic had not applied for a visa that allows exemptions for unvaccinated people. It is not publicly known if Djokovic has been vaccinated but he has previously said he is opposed.

News of the tournament exemption provoked a huge public and political backlash.

Following the announcement by the ABF, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that entry exceptions could not be made for anyone.

Morrison tweeted: “Mr Djokovic’s visa has been cancelled. Rules are rules, especially when it comes to our borders.

“No one is above these rules. Our strong border policies have been critical to Australia having one of the lowest death rates in the world from COVID, we are continuing to be vigilant.”

Djokovic is bidding to win a record 21st Grand Slam title and the Australian Open for a 10th time. The tournament begins on January 17.