Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government has revoked Djokovic’s visa for the second time amid public outcry over breaking COVID rules.
Novak Djokovic has returned to Australia to be detained after authorities tore up his visa a second time and declared the unvaccinated tennis superstar a threat to the public.
The world number one tennis player surrendered to Melbourne officials for an interview at around 8am local time on Saturday (21:00 GMT Friday), according to a court order issued on Friday night.
Australian Border Force (ABF) officials accompanied the 34-year-old to his lawyer’s office for an online hearing in Federal Court at 10:15am local time on Saturday (23:15GMT Friday).
His case has now moved to the Court of Appeal, with a hearing scheduled for Sunday.
Just two days before the Australian Open, the world number one is again battling detention and deportation – the latest twist in a high-profile debate over the status of his COVID-19 vaccine.
This is the second time the Australian government has tried to oust Djokovic, one of the world’s most high-profile COVID-19 vaccine skeptics.
The 34-year-old Serb entered Australia earlier this month using a medical waiver, hoping to challenge for a record 21st Grand Slam title at the Open.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government revoked Djokovic’s visa on arrival amid a public outcry.
Many Australians suffering from prolonged lockdowns and border restrictions believe Djokovic juggles system to circumvent vaccine entry requirements.
But when the government is humiliated Judge reinstates Djokovic’s visa and allow him to stay in the country.
This time, the government invoked exceptional and difficult-to-challenge executive powers to declare him a threat to public health and safety.
Government lawyers are expected to argue that Djokovic’s presence amid the wave of Omicron infections has fueled anti-vaccine sentiment in Australia.
They are also expected to say that Djokovic will not comply with COVID-19 regulations, posing a risk to public health.
The tennis ace contracted COVID-19 in mid-December and, According to his own words, failed to isolate despite knowing he was positive.
Public records show he attended stamp unveilings, youth tennis events, and spoke to the media while he was tested and confirmed to have the infection.
I don’t care if they expel Djokovic.It’s more important that people understand how the system works and how it treats refugees, where the immigration minister can even overrule the courts https://t.co/JCuuzJND5u
— Behrouz Boochani (@BehrouzBoochani) January 14, 2022
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said in a statement that the government was “firmly committed to protecting Australia’s borders, particularly in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic”, adding that the decision to cancel Djokovic’s visa again Decisions are “the basis of health and good order”.
“It is in the public interest to do so,” Hawke said.
The government has agreed not to deport Djokovic until the end of the hearing, barrister Stephen Lloyd said in an emergency federal court hearing on Friday.
Djokovic is the top seed and nine-time tournament champion at the Australian Open. Hawke had been practicing hours before his decision was announced.
It is not clear whether Djokovic If he doesn’t think he can play at the Australian Open, he’ll choose to stay and fight.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on Friday accused Australia of “mistreatment” of the country’s biggest star and national hero.
“If you want to ban Novak Djokovic from winning his tenth trophy in Melbourne, why not return him immediately, why not tell him ‘impossible to get a visa’?” Vucic said on Instagram.
“Novak, we support you!”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison backed the decision, saying: “Australians have made many sacrifices during this pandemic and they rightly expect the results of those sacrifices to be protected.”
The visa cancellation effectively means Djokovic will be banned from a new Australian visa for three years, unless under exceptional circumstances, he will be excluded from one of the four Grand Slam tournaments in the period.
He currently shares 20 Grand Slam titles with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.