The soap opera of the Serbian tennis player’s participation in the Australian Open continues on Saturday, January 15, with his return to administrative detention in the Melbourne hotel used by the government to detain people in an irregular situation. He had been placed there previously before being released on Monday, January 10.
In his pleadings filed in court on Saturday, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke argued that Novak Djokovic’s presence in the country was “likely to pose a health risk to the Australian community”. According to him, the position of the player could encourage “anti-vaccination sentiment” and dissuade Australians from getting their booster shots, or even “lead to an upsurge in civil unrest ».
A bad example for Australians
The Minister thus canceled Djokovic’s visa for the second time on Friday, January 14, by virtue of his discretionary power, invoking “ health and public order reasons », and considering that the « contempt Djokovic’s past with regard to health rules against the Covid was a bad example.
The Australian government launched deportation proceedings against the Serbian star earlier this week, which were unsuccessful after a judge blocked Djokovic’s deportation, reinstated his visa and ordered his immediate release.
Two days before the opening of the Australian Open, the participation of the Serb, who was to face his compatriot Miomir Kekmanovic on Monday in the first round, now seems unlikely.
Rafael Nadal annoyed
Novak Djokovic had been blocked on his arrival in Australia on January 5 and placed in administrative detention for the first time. The player, who contracted Covid-19 in December, hoped to be granted an exemption to enter the country without being vaccinated, which was not accepted by the authorities. This twisty soap opera takes place in a country whose inhabitants have endured some of the strictest health restrictions in the world for nearly two years, and where elections are scheduled for May.
The Djokovic affair is also followed assiduously in Serbia where “Nole is considered a national hero. On Friday, President Aleksandar Vucic accused Australia of “to mistreat ».
The other players preparing for the tournament no longer hide their annoyance and weariness. “The Australian Open is more important than any player” And this “will be a great Australian Open with or without him”, declared the Spaniard Rafael Nadal, one of the three superstars of world tennis, alongside Djokovic and the Swiss Roger Federer.