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Australian Open champ Novak Djokovic to be deported after visa saga

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Australian Open champ Novak Djokovic to be deported after visa saga
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After a rollercoaster ride regarding 9-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic having his visa approved and revoked several times as courts debate his status as unvaccinated but recovered from a Covid-19 infection, the tennis star will now be deported from Australia.

Novak lost a court appeal to try to reverse the cancellation of his visa when 3 judges upheld the decision. He had the option to appeal again but half an hour after the decision was made, he announced he was finished fighting and would accept a verdict he called extremely disappointing. He will now fly home, where Serbia’s president had personally spoken to Novak to welcome him anytime and suggested the Australian government’s mistreatment of Novak was politically motivated, and take time to rest out of the spotlight.

The judges are set to release a full statement on the ruling that they said was in the interest of public safety. Citing not just a standard Covid-19 infection risk, Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said the incident could cause civil unrest by spotlighting and fueling anti-vaccination sentiment as Australia struggles with the Omicron variant like the rest of the world.

Meanwhile, Novak could face a 3-year ban from Australia and has been ordered to pay the government’s court costs. He will miss the Australian Open which begins tomorrow, a loss for the game according to British tennis star Andy Murray who said that the whole debacle was last minute and sloppy and calls for better preparation for future events.

The Australian Border Force had originally detained the tennis star after his flight from Dubai arrived in Melbourne late Wednesday last week. Novak faced the threat of deportation when Australian immigration officers determined he had an invalid medical exemption for Covid-19 vaccination and revoked his visa. He was held in an immigration detention facility until the judge ruled in his favour on Monday and Novak was released and rejoined his team.

The government then wrestled over the details of his case, including an error in his travel declaration form, on which a box was checked stating he had not travelled to any other country in the 14 days prior to his arrival. In fact, Novak had travelled from Belgrade, Serbia, to Marbella, Spain, on December 31 to train at Soto Tennis Academy.

Meanwhile, the world’s number one tennis player is facing significant scrutiny online about his whereabouts after testing positive for Covid-19 after a PCR test on December 16 and still doing an interview and photoshoot with a French publication the next day and a tennis event in Belgrade the next day. Novak took to Twitter to try to clear his name about Covid-19 and the visa situation.

But the Immigration Minister then exercised his power to personally re-cancel the Serbian player’s visa on the grounds of health and good order, a decision Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who had previously been critical of Novak’s case, supported in a response statement posted on his government webpage Friday evening.

SOURCE: Sky News


Courtesy ofThaiger News

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